Do Something That You Suck At
People in general are driven to do the things that we are good at. This makes perfect sense, doesn't it? We love the way it makes us feel, the way is validates us, and really love the praise it gets us from other people. We enjoy every moment of it. It makes us feel special, important, valuable...all the things we strive to feel in this challenging and humbling world. So of course, we tend to spend our time doing those things we are naturally inclined to do.
But what about those things we aren't so good at? Those things that we tend to avoid because we know how much we will suck at them. I think they deserve some of our attention and love too! I’ll point out that this is much much harder! Doing something that we suck at requires us to look like a fool, often publicly (eek!). I started thinking about this after a particularly shitty performance in my newest endeavor, mixed martial arts training. Now before you go assuming that I am some kind of a badass, let me assure you that I am far from it. I don't actually take any punches. I throw punches and kicks while my trainer holds up pads, probably nervously hoping to himself that I will hit the intended target. He would probably describe me as having "heart" when it comes to MMA, which is a polite way of saying, "You absolutely suck at this but I appreciate that you try so hard." I went into this with the intention of becoming less of a cupcake but have learned and grown so much more in the process.
Here's the thing...I suck at most things that require coordination and focus. You know that girl in gym class who ALWAYS gets hit with the ball? That was me. And that was the most contact I ever really made with the ball. If it wasn't hitting me, I was left to awkwardly stumble about, missing it any time I went for the catch, hit, or kick. As I'm sure you can understand, I have avoided all things of this nature for a long time. Until about two months ago, when I decided to give this whole MMA thing a try.
Have you ever tried to do something that you suck at in a public forum? It is massively uncomfortable! As people, we have a tendency to set such lofty, unrealistic expectations on ourselves as to be good at everything, sometimes even having the expectation of perfection. We offer all kinds of room for error and growth when it comes to our children, but don't allow the same for ourselves. It feels really vulnerable to admit that not only are we not perfect, but that we can be downright terrible at some things. As a counselor, I suggest the use of art as part of therapy all the time. And I often get a response like, "I'm not good at art." Then I will explain that art therapy is all about the process and experience, not about the result. Their response? Most of the time, people still choose to pass on trying the activity even though it might help them. And often this is not because they don't enjoy artistic expression. It's about that fear of not doing something well. It feels embarrassing. It hits against our pride. It's a bruise to our ego. It HUMBLES us. Other people are witnessing the suckfest that is happening before their eyes. And we are left to choose...Do I keep going or do I quit?
I would encourage you to find something that you suck at to enjoy. And keep doing it! Because sometimes that ego needs to be told to "hush up." Sometimes you have to let go of your pride. This is where the magic happens! Because when I make mistake after mistake and I look up at my trainer and he is still cheering me on, I know that I'm growing. I'm learning....slowly. I'm unleashing that woman in me who likes to hit stuff. I'm realizing that I can face public humiliation and survive. In fact, maybe no one else gives a shit that I still frolick a little bit when I move around the cage or that my punch doesn't look like its "supposed to." Maybe no one is even paying attention! Maybe they are too busy trying to make sure that they look good at what they are doing. And there are those times that I get something right! The celebration that comes with that is so much better than feeling good about something that I am good at. This is truly the place where confidence grows and flourishes. The harder the challenge, the greater the reward right?
So now it's your turn. Step out of your comfort zone! Find the right people and environment to serve as your support as you navigate something challenging. Something embarrassing. Something ugly. Something brave! Time to become a better version of yourself! Post your commitment to do something you suck at in the comments below. You'll thank me.... eventually!
Posted on Fri, March 13, 2015
by Christy Forsyth