When I enter into a conversation with people about sucking at something, I am often met with a nervous laugh. I understand — it is kind of a funny idea, this suggestion to suck at something on purpose, or at least, with purpose. The initial awkwardness that it arouses often leads to questions. Primarily, why? Why would we embrace our suckitude? Because…there are so many good things hiding in that space between doing something we love and letting go of our need to excel at it.
Here are some reasons why it’s great to suck at something:
- It releases us from our constant and exhausting goal-setting imperatives. We have enough pressure to perform in our lives by earning our daily bread and competing with the next person. Set aside time to let that go. Take time to just be and do with no goal in mind.
- It makes room for us to learn new things. Learning helps us to live longer and to be happier. Science tells us that novelty is beneficial for memory, neuro-plasticity and promotes a healthy nervous system. And yes, you can teach an old human new tricks.
- It reintroduces play into our lives. Play is what makes us human. Only in the most advanced brains in the animal kingdom do we see play in action that has nothing to do with eating, mating, marking territory, taking care of young, or training for any of those evolutionary imperatives. If play is proof of the animal kingdom’s top tier, it should inspire us to do more of it.
- It declaws the haters. When we are less judgmental about ourselves, we are less so about others. (See commenter sections on-line.) Once we forgive ourselves for our imperfections, we make room for others’ as well. If more people enjoyed their own suckitude, they’d be a whole lot nicer to the rest of us.
- It makes us comfortable with discomfort. And get ready for it, because life can sometime feel like we’re wearing a tight-to-fit, full-body hairshirt. Our aversion to discomfort has us thinking that when things are challenging, it means something is wrong, which is…wrong.
- It helps us to accept feeling vulnerable. What might seem the opposite of confidence, open vulnerability creates a kind of hardiness, grounded confidence, and self-acceptance.
- It teaches us that being cool is just another way of hiding from ourselves. Being cool ain’t sh*t — the only pathway to cool is to not care about being cool.
- It invites kindness. When you are not the expert, you’ll need help from others. By opening ourselves up for an assist, we invite the generosity and guidance others have to give. Everyone wins.
- It teaches us that we are not in control of everything. Control is just another way we tell ourselves that we are the center of the universe — even if we know that’s faulty logic. By relieving the pressure to (impossibly) manufacture every outcome, we can let go of useless ruminating on the what if’s and should haves.
- It’s an antidote to loneliness. By bringing us into communities we might otherwise hesitate to enter, we connect with new people and all of the wonderful possibilities they bring to our lives.
Go forth in abundant suckitude!