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Sucking is on the Path to Mastery

By January 9, 2023May 30th, 2023No Comments

You’ve probably heard “be brave enough to suck at something new” but what about being brave enough to persist at something you’ve been at for awhile on a day you’re thinking to yourself “I suck?”

Context: There’s a long hill behind my house. I’m an elite endurance athlete.  But I still can’t run all the way to the top without walking. The thought popped up, “I suck.”

“Sucking” is part of the non-linear process, sucking is ON the path to mastery. Being brave means persisting even when you think you suck!

Most days are not going to be PRs. (Note: this assumes you don’t need rest).

First, ask yourself why you’re thinking that “you suck.”  Reasons: maybe it’s comparison, expectations that are too high, perfectionism, low-calorie, or something else.  Thinking “I suck” doesn’t mean you aren’t tough.  Thoughts arise, and how you manage those thoughts is what creates lasting impact.

Personalizing a performance (I suck, I’m awesome, etc) is not ideal.  Non-identification is key (separating your “self” from the judgment of the activity).  This performance sucks vs I suck.

Do you hang on to the thought with a long negative story? Or, do you simply notice the thought, let it go, and keep moving forward with acceptance and optimism?

Try: telling yourself that this is part of the process. Having a slower or less strong day is exactly right for the day. Everyone has days like this and it’s okay.  Step by step, no matter how small or slow.  Look for improvements you’ve made in the big picture.  Consistent work pays off.  You don’t have to be impressive to be worthy as a human being.

Say “It’s okay.”  (Simple, yet powerful).

The goal isn’t to be incredible every day. The goal is to show up, to be the kind of person who is committed to mastery of their craft (inclusive of days you think you suck).

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