Embrace the Suck

Embrace the Suck

I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine. His name is Coop and he happens to be my “platform” guy. He helps me with my social media and designed this website. How cool is that?!


Me: How was your day?

Coop: Well, I just finished a round of golf?

Me: How was it?

Coop: Actually I sucked, but it was a great day. The weather was amazing, the golf course was beautiful, I was with friends and I decided I was going to enjoy my terrible play.

I basically had a talk with myself and said, “I love to golf. But I don’t have the time right now to work on my golf game—and I know I need to consistently play to get better. So I can either get upset because I suck—and I HATE not striving for greatness in everything I do—or I can give myself permission to suck knowing that I’m not putting in the time to be great and enjoy every other aspect of the experience.”

I chose to cut myself some slack and free myself from my constant need to be great and simply enjoy the experience. So you ask, “How was my day playing golf?” It was great! It will probably be even more fun when I don’t suck, but that will have to wait until I have more time to practice consistently.

In the military there is a term for this mental shift, “Embrace the Suck.” What that means is that while you might find yourself in a situation that’s not ideal, you can either be miserable or you can choose to embrace your circumstances. While finding yourself bombing on a golf course and being in a war zone with actual bombs falling isn’t comparable, I think we can all learn from this mental judo technique.

This conversation with Coop was the exact experience I had a few years after I had quit dancing and decided I missed it and wanted to take a dance class. Whatever the word for beyond sucked is, that was me. I couldn’t believe how much my muscle strength and technique had deteriorated. It was soooooo not fun. I was miserable and consequently didn’t dance for many years—except to choreograph. And even then I demonstrated as little as possible because my dancing felt nothing like it used to.

A few years ago, and many years after that experience I had the same conversation with myself that Coop had about golf. I realized how much I miss moving to music. I miss learning choreography. I miss the hard wood floor and hearing the instructor count us in with, “ahhh 5,6,7,8.” And most of all I miss getting lost in the spirit of Dance.

I believe we all have the spirit of dance inside of us. It doesn’t matter how we move or what we look like. That spirit is so unique and fulfilling it should never be stifled by any measurement of aptitude.

Here’s to embracing the suck and allowing ourselves to enjoy simply doing stuff because it’s fun.

What’s your fun thing that you suck at but absolutely love? Or, what’s that thing you love doing that you stopped because you suck at it?

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18 Comments on "Embrace the Suck"

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I was such a self-conscious person as I was growing up that it was a huge challenge for me to try anything that I was afraid I was going to suck at. I remember my biggest test for this came when I was a senior in highschool. I wanted to go out for springboard diving because of my gymnastics background but the coach’s philosophy was that the divers would have to swim with the swim team and also do their diving practice. I can swim but I have never had the ability to swim for long periods of time and… Read more »
Nadalie walsh
I love art of, drawing & painting….but I have no talent in this area. I suck at it…Ive spent my whole life comparing myself and my lack of artistic ability to the many people in my family who are amazing annointed in this area. So, I have not even tried to draw in at least 15 years. I have a 13 year old daughter who is incredible. She has made up herself own way of painting…she does it with a tooth pick and it is incredible. (If I can post a picture I will) I am currently in Redding ,… Read more »
Abbe S

I suck at a lot of things, but I do not suck at not letting my suckiness ever stop me from doing something. One of my greatest gifts is that I do not get embarrassed easily. I trust that no one is really worrying about what I say or do or how well I say or do it. So I just savor the suck and go for it. (I must admit, the stream of comments is making me want to enroll in dance classes. )

Elizabeth Rosendorf
I love dance (like you actually). And you know what I think is so cool about dance (besides absolutely everything because dance is awesome)? Everyone sucks sometimes. Sometimes you are going to take a really hard class and the only way to get better is to keep taking it until you get it (or get it better than before). Some classes are so hard that literally everyone sucks at times. There’s a ballet class I like to take on Wednesday night and even the girls who trained pre-professionally growing up have a rough time with certain combinations-it’s just a really,… Read more »

As with anything, attitude and perspective makes all the difference. Being lost in dance, or golf, or mathematics… to find flow and learn to let yourself and your spirit grow with the desires that drive you; that is the important thing.
I am constantly learning new things and challenging myself in ways that are discomforting so I can find myself on the other side, a better person. Personally, I am shy and not very coordinated… so what better challenge than public performance?
Ah, it will be a full embrace.

Kristina Comforte
I’m sure there are many things that I suck at that I haven’t even tried. Being as competitive as I am, it can be difficult to embrace the suck sometimes (golf comes to mind). However, I have definitely embraced the suck with regards to my ability to sing. I love it! Albeit I have a terrible voice, it brings me joy to belt out my favorite song as loud as I can. I do apologize to Ari for having to listen to it for almost 5 years of college. The funny thing is that my dad and my cousins are… Read more »
How curious it is that I am friends with an amazing dancer/choreographer and my fun thing that I suck at is dancing! I LOVE to dance but I have never taken a single dance lesson. I’m really terrible but I just don’t care. When I hear a great song I just can’t stop from moving to the beat. It gets in my head and then my shoulders and arms, moves to my body and hips, drops to my knees and finally settles into my toes. In reality, I only move my shoulders and my toes while the rest of me… Read more »
Elizabeth Overton
Miss Val I love this saying! This is something I’ve felt and never put into words quite so eloquently. I train six days a week, so there is a regular rhythm of good days, bad days, weak days, and strong days. I’ve had to make myself be patient on the bad days and trust that I’ll have a good one in one or two days. And there are always skills that I completely suck at. They make me feel like my body will rip in half or don’t make sense at all, and the thing is, there will ALWAYS be… Read more »
This “mental judo” works for so many areas of life and is amazing once we are not only truly able to embrace the suck, but also able to practice this mental judo on a regular basis. I believe a lot of the difficulty in embracing the suck is pride. Naturally, we do not want to suck or let it be known that we suck at anything. As a perfectionist myself that is a very difficult thing for me to do! At the end of the day we are our own worst critics and everyone has different learning levels. Believing in… Read more »
A Renee
How true, how poignant. I gave up performing… singing and acting… not that I was aware how badly I sucked at either at the time I gave them up. Giving them up for practicality’s sake. A regular paycheck and an area at which I unnaturally excelled with little to no effort seemed rather important at the time. I am ashamed to admit that those things still hold a great deal of importance to me. Only recently was I informed, by my parents no less, that I was a terrible singer. I had considered for a time putting together a voice… Read more »