Why "Sucking" At Some Things Is Good For You | Global Business Consultants );

Simon Delp, Strategy Specialist at GBC, 4 Min Read

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Ouch!!! That hurts but it doesn’t pain…

 

A few weeks ago, I went skiing for the very first time. The experience was…let’s just say, I was terrible. I was on my backside more than I was on my feet. I fell over and over. For those of you who’ve learned to Ski before, you know what I’m talking about 🙂

The bruises on my butt and body including aches in my knees, wrists and back was surprisingly not the most painful part of the experience. Rather, the greatest pain I felt was the sinking sensation I had in the depths of my stomach: I was really crap at skiing. I wasn’t picking it up “as fast as I thought I would.” I was frustrated and embarrassed.

I recall thinking to myself, “Maybe skiing is just not meant for me…”

Then, as I picked myself off the ground for the umpteenth time, it dawned on me that the feeling I was suddenly experiencing was unfamiliar. “When was the last time I felt this way?” I tried to remember the last time I felt this way and I just couldn’t remember. I couldn’t remember the last time I was this outside my comfort zone. It has been so long since I’ve sucked at something that I couldn’t remember the feeling. I hadn’t dared to suck at anything and allow myself to be vulnerable, to look a little “dumb” to my friends — in a very, very long time.

As we become adults and get wiser with experience, we tend to gravitate, on autopilot, toward the things that we initially have the least resistance to. The new hobbies I’ve tried to pick up as an adult — whether it’s playing the guitar or jiujutsu — are all things I’ve already had a tendency for. I’ve already been playing musical instruments and doing contact sport activities for quite a while. It was by no means pushing the boundaries to try those new things and related activities.

But with skiing, I was in foreign territory. I had no concept or related prior experiences to skiing. And I’d forgotten the importance of trying and learning completely new things. As adults, we naturally tend to protect our egos and consequently we don’t allow ourselves to be bad at new things. We just do not want to suck at anything so we don’t try new things. This sometimes leads us to boredom and depression with the status-quo. We know that we would love to be free and enjoy new things but are hindered with the potential of bruised egos.

Sucking at something humbles you in front of friends, family and even colleagues. You regain your humility and importantly allows you to learn new things. And why not have some adventure and excitement learning something new. When you learn new things, you mess around and you mess up. You’re not supposed to be proficient from the get-go.

And, you rediscover that persistence leads to progress. By day 3 of skiing I was reinvigorated as an avid skier and much happier that I learned something new. I got better. In fact, I got back from my second ski trip just last week… and I got back without any new bruises!

I couldn’t be more grateful that I was so bad at skiing. It was the reminder I needed to push myself outside my comfort zone more often. To fight the instinct to expect excellence when I learn something new.

I don’t know about you but now, I want to seek out more things I suck at.

 

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