Fall In Love with Sucking

Ever looked at a guy who’s great with women and wondered “Why can’t that be me?”

Ever took a bite of your best friend’s homemade cookies and thought “I want to do that too, but mine always end up tasting like a waste of time” ?

Ever told your friend who plays guitar: “I tried to do that a couple of times , but I have no talent” ?

Maybe it was an entirely different skill, but whatever it was:  You wanted to get good at it. Only you didn’t seem to have a lot of talent for it, so you gave up.  Think of that one thing right now.

Whatever it was, just like flirting, baking cookies or singing, it can’t be that hard. Because millions of people have done it before you.

I’ve been in this situation lots of times as well.  Why do we give up so early on these things?

I don’t think the reason is a lack of motivation.  When you really want something, it’s easy to keep working for it.  I don’t think a lack of talent would be that big of a reason to give up either.  If “gifted people” are rare, that means most people who learn something actually have no innate talent.  So what could it be then?

A little while ago I was learning cold approach sales in a new environment and I wasn’t doing very well.

I was very blessed to work that day in the company of 2 people who took the time to observe me, figure my problem areas and give me some feedback to work with.

After the first hour I still hadn’t made a lot of improvement though.  Throughout the day I got a little better. But in the end I still went home with zero sales.

Does this mean I’m just not cut out to learn sales?

I found the clue to answering that question (or for you to learn whatever it is you’re thinking of while you’re reading this) in an observation they made about me I was unaware of:

Every time I was talking to someone and they reacted in a negative or awkward way, I looked towards my co-workers to check for their reaction instead of staying focused.

Often when learning a new skill we may be highly motivated, maybe even talented. But the real problem is that we’re simply not being willing to go through the phase during which –let’s admit it- we just plain suck.

This could be because we don’t want to get judged by others (as in my example) or just as common: because we don’t want to get judged by ourselves.   If you already hold yourself in high regard, it can be somewhat unpleasant to be repeatedly confronted with the fact that you still suck at a lot things. Suddenly you’re not the superhero your ego thought you was.  😉

This is because of the way we were trained to learn new things.  In school we learn to see success as “good” and failure as “bad”.  A very unproductive method. Because if you’re not willing to suck at what you’re doing, you can never learn something new.

In essence learning is a process of constant experimentation. Where failure is feedback in the form of “a different outcome than you hoped for”. And success is just a pointer to keep doing what you’re doing there.

As illustrated by the first flowchart I ever made (my apologies if I still suck at making those 😉 ), whether you’ll ever get good at something or not, s in direct relation to your willingness to suck.

There, as you can see:  Sucking is the secret ingredient for “totally nailing your entire life”.

By the way, you know who’s always very willing to suck?

Babies.

Terrible joke, I know, but what I mean is that babies are still unspoiled by all these “grown-up” ideas that get in the way of putting this flowchart into practice.

As a baby, you once accomplished something amazing just by being willing to suck at it both publicly and privately:  You defied gravity, gathered the strength and coördination to keep up your giant head and learned how to walk.

That’s the equivalent of an adult trying to learn how to fly. And you accomplished it by sucking every single day for more than a year, hell-bent on victory.  Even if it hurt every single time you fell down.

If you think about it, most of the challenges we face today are nothing compared to what we had to learn as babies.

As an example here are some of the things I’m trying to learn “as we speak”:

• Blogging

• Public speaking

• Tuning my guitar while speaking

• Speaking with interesting-looking strangers when in company  (This one is interesting. I do it all the time when I’m alone. But when walking around with 1 or 2 friends I suddenly stop doing it. Because I fear they will judge me if I get negative reactions.  Which of course they won’t, I’m just not willing enough to suck in front of them yet, as I discovered in the sales example.)

• Connecting with people without speaking at all.

• Lucid Dreaming.

None of those seem like a lot of work in comparison to learning how to walk or talk, right?

If you take a look at some of the things you’ve been putting off in your life or never seemed to get the hang of, can you recognize a lack of willingness to suck as the problem?

If you’re not sure, just find out for your self by going out and publicly sucking at it on purpose.  You’ll know soon enough how you feel about it.

Go sing as bad as you can, claim the basket ball court for a day and shoot 101 misses or get rejected by a million guys when you try to flirt with them.  Be willing to suck right now so you can review your suckage afterwards and know exactly what you need to work on.  Just experiment with it until the pieces finally start to fall together.

Whatever your next learning adventure is, whether it’s getting your driver’s license, starting your own business, dancing the macarena or making wigs out of your leftover spaghetti:

I wish you all the luck in the world!

And I’ll leave you with the creepiest pep-talk anyone ever gave you:

It’s okay to suck.  Don’t be ashamed. There’s nothing bad about it.

Everyone sucks at first.   It’s  a part you can’t skip if you want great things to come.

Yes, it’s hard.  

But it’s also fun because you don’t know  how things will be after that

and if you are willing to suck the best you can, I promise you it will lead to something good.

Don’t be afraid that your friends are going to judge you for it either.  

Forget about them, just suck right now so you can enjoy the rewards later. 

They’ll wish they had joined you when they see how you shine.

Then, when you look back, you may even realize that the part where you were still sucking was at least as fun as where it got you.

So stop waiting around.

And start sucking right now.

You know you’ll love it.

 

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