Suck Less, or at Least Work Twice as Hard as You Suck.

Listen, you suck at pretty much everything you do, and for your whole life, you will suck at most of what you do. You probably have tried a lot of things and sucked at them so you stayed sucky, which is cool! There might even be something that you actually pursued for a while, like playing basketball or learning to draw or playing guitar, but you probably still suck at those things. It’s okay to suck at things; or at least I hope it is because I suck at A LOT of things. But what separates the people who do things well from the people who suck is the tenacity to succeed multiple times.

I tried skateboarding for a while, and I even keep a little bit of it in my life in the form of longboarding (which is NOT the same as skateboarding no matter what that one guy from college says), but I sort of gave up. I watched so many YouTube videos of how to push off right and the basics of ollying and whatnot, and I even succeeded with a few basic tricks a few times, but I still gave up. I tasted some success and still quit. It isn’t enough to succeed a few times, for your moral or your muscle memory. I’m not a psychologist or professional teacher of any skill, but I believe that you need to do something right twice as many times and twice as often as you mess up for you to have broken the bad habit of failure. So with the olly example, if you screwed it up and didn’t land it just how you should have 28 times then you need to do it right at least 56 times, probably more.

I have taken lessons in various things (an instrument, a sport, others) and one of the things that I don’t understand is when people are working on a skill and trying it over and over and once they succeed once they say “alright, I did it, now I don’t have to work on that anymore” (in more or less words). The clincher comes later when that skill is put to the test and they play the measure wrong or make uneven cuts in the meat or put the wrong spin on the ball. They may be confused and blame the lighting or the knife or the racket when they really ought to blame their laziness and ignorance. Doing something correctly once is not good enough; not even close. Practice over and over and over and over. Then maybe you’ll suck a little less. You can’t be good enough, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. In fact, it means that you absolutely have to try.