Be Willing to Suck
Every expert to ever live was once a beginner. Their greatest advantage was the willingness to start from square one and refuse to give up.
Think of how many things we never accomplish because we aren’t willing to suck at first.
How many people have avoided joining a gym (pre-Covid) because they were embarrassed of looking foolish, or weak, or not knowing how to use the equipment?
How many happy future marriages never happened because someone couldn’t muster the courage to approach the person they were attracted to?
How many salaries were given to someone else because a candidate chose not to interview for their dream position?
The very thing that we avoid is the most important thing we need to dive into: Sucking at something.
How do we adopt this mindset?
First, stop being so focused on the outcome, and begin enjoying the journey. This is what life is really all about — the journey itself. There is no end outcome besides the obvious one all of us humans face, because life is constantly evolving and changing around us.
We are in the middle of a global pandemic that sprung out of nowhere less than a year ago, altering every human life on the planet. Plans changed, family dynamics changed, relationships changed, careers changed. For those who’d been focusing on an end outcome that has now been taken away or put on pause, there is emotional devastation.
You, yourself, likely have more than one example of being thrown off course in life by a changing circumstance. We all have, that’s the way reality works.
Each day, though, is the journey itself.
For example, if you have a fitness goal, achieving the goal itself cannot be the only thing you find fulfillment in. If it is, you’ll hate every moment of the process because you’ve not yet reached your goal. And when you finally do, the feeling of satisfaction will be fleeting because there is nothing else to look forward to.
If you enjoy the journey, however, every single day provides you with a positive experience that you can hold on to. The feeling of progress, preparation, the ritual of the routine. These things are all the very fabric of a meaningful goal.
The same can be said for finding a relationship, advancing in your career, starting a business, or making an impact in your community.
There is always another step to be taken, another lesson to be learned. We must, then, embrace the suck as simply the beginning part of the journey. We can enjoy sucking at something if we know that the time spent sucking is actually time spent learning. And learning is what raises us up and helps us advance.
If we never learn, we never improve. And if sucking equals learning, well, you get the idea.
In case you’re not convinced, here are a few names you might recognize and a hardship they experienced before they were who they came to be:
After being cut from his high school basketball team, he went home, locked himself in his room, and cried…
He wasn’t able to speak until he was almost 4 years old, and his teachers said he would “never amount to much”…
She was demoted from her job as a news anchor because she “wasn’t a fit for television”…
He was fired from a newspaper because he “lacked imagination and had no original ideas…”
At 30 years old, this man was devastated and depressed after being removed from the company he started himself…
A high school dropout, whose personal struggles with drugs and poverty lead to an (unsuccessful) suicide attempt…
A teacher told him he was “too stupid to learn anything” and should go into a field where he “might succeed because of his pleasant personality…”
Rejected by Decca Recording Studios, who said “We don’t like their sound, they have no future in show business…”
His book was rejected by twenty-seven publishers…
His fiancee died, he failed in business, had a nervous breakdown, and was defeated in eight elections…
All too often, we are easily discouraged by a few failures. Failed business ventures, failed relationships, failed tests…each of us are faced with these detours in life, some more often than others.
From an emotional level, it’s easy to get discouraged and see a ‘failure’ as the end of the road — but like in many areas of life, it’s all about perspective. The truth is, you never know how close you are to success, but if you give up, you’ll never find out.
Defeat is temporary. If you get up one more time than you get knocked down, you have succeeded.
As Henry Ford famously stated: Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, more wisely.
The moral of the story:
There will always be someone who will tell you that you can’t do something. That you’re not good enough, smart enough, talented enough, or skilled enough. Some of the most successful people in history were told the same thing long before any of us were born…
But it didn’t stop them — don’t let it stop you.