One of the things we are supposed to be is excellent. We give awards for it, mark students papers with it, we strive for it. And, with social media, everyone is a critic, we don’t dare be anything less than excellent or we might end up in a viral Youtube video (at least the guy who misses the trampoline TRIED the trampoline).
That’s a lot of pressure.
We see excellence all the time, only the best athletes make it to the leagues that play on television, only the most accomplished actors to Broadway, only the most gifted artists get in galleries. The bar is set pretty high for us: if you are going to try something new, you better be good at it right out of the box. Right?
I suggest you take a little pressure off. Get off your own back. As adults, we are supposed to be right all the time: and certain. No one wants to work with the stockbroker who isn’t afraid to make the big mistake or the surgeon who plays too many hunches. As parents, as employers, as employees, as grownups, we are expected to know the right answer or be able to find it pretty quick. After all, we are the products of standardized testing!
The trouble with that? We learn to avoid trying anything new because we don’t want to look stupid (You will not be marked down for the questions you did not complete). Which becomes a problem if you think you want to be creative because creative involves climbing out on that wire and falling off now and then. If you can’t let yourself begin, then you can’t watch yourself get better. And that’s too bad, if you can’t grow you are ready for a pine box.
Today, I am going to give you permission to try something new and FAIL. With apologies to Bruce Springsteen, I’m going to liberate you, confiscate you… someday we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny:
You Now Have Permission to Try Something New and Suck At It!
Go ahead, write a bad novel, cook something and burn it, speak a foreign language badly, paint stick figures, tell a bad joke, sing off key, bring a tuba to your next dinner party…
Liberating, isn’t it? Giving yourself permission to suck is the basis for Releasing Your Creative Beast, until you let yourself be horrible at something, and truly enjoy it, you won’t get past the self editing stage. Once you do, once you Revel in Your Suckage, you will inevitably get better at your chosen pursuit, getting out of your own way is about 100% of the battle.
So, go ahead, you now have permission to suck. I’m going to play a badly tuned guitar: Roslaita jump a little lighter…