It’s OK to Suck

Actually, it’s more than ok to suck – it’s good for you. Trying something new and even “failing” at it is benificial. It increases resilience, helps us embrace our imperfections and allows us to enjoy the journey more than the final result. 

It is ok to suck at things (but try them anyway)

The Truth

NO ONE is good at something when they first try it. I REPEAT – NO ONE is magically good at something when they first try it. Think about your childhood – were you magically good at riding a bike when you first tried? If you’re like me the answer is a loud, clear and skinned knee NO. I had a bonus training wheel because I leaned to the left for years after I learned how to ride the bike.

As adults we have a harder time embracing the art of trying something new and sucking. So let’s go through the importance of trying new things and why it’s ok (and even encouraged) to suck. 

Shoshin

I’ve gone on about the importance of beginner’s mind or “shoshin” but ITS SO IMPORTANT TO ME. In case you’ve missed my soapbox speeches on beginner’s mind it is dropping our expectations and preconceived notions about something and truly embracing the task with child like curiosity and observation.  More information about beginner’s is available here.

Builds patience and perseverance 

As kids we get a lot of practice sucking. Everyday we learned something new or tried a new skill. As we get older we have less opportunities to put ourselves out there and fail. Somewhere towards the end of adolescence we get this false notion that we have to be GOOD at something to do it.

In our adult years we are more likely to try something once, perform mediocre at it and then quit because we aren’t magically the Simone Biles of our new skill. But, if we keep building on that skill – even if we think we suck at it – eventually we will make progress and we learn to enjoy the journey. 

We learn from our failures 

Some of the best life lessons come from really making a mess of things. When we try something new and suck at it, the attempt can point out places we have opportunity to grow in.

Let’s use the example of needle point. If I wanted to start doing needle point I might buy all my materials, review how to do the stitches, sit down to sew and start flying through the project. As I’m sewing I may notice that I’m poking myself with the needle a lot or creating uneven stitches.

Odds are good that I would need to slow down and practice patience. When I notice this lack of patience in a new task I am more likely to identify it in other places in my life. For example: I may want to apply patience to my relationships or with myself when I’m sluggish with completing my goals.

Sucking makes us more compassionate 

When we perform mediocre or absolutely stink something up we develop empathy for others when they suck because we know how it feels. 

Once we accept that it’s ok to suck we get to enjoy the journey. We approach challenges in a new and creative way. We learn to celebrate the little victories along the way. We develop resilience to laugh at our failures. We become more compassionate and supportive to other people on their journeys.

Sucking at something makes us better people. For me personally those things are learning to play the keyboard and writing mediocre poems.

Let me know in the comments what you aren’t afraid to suck at or what you are going to try!

*I am not a medical professional. Please work with a certified professional when it comes to your physical and mental health.

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