You probably don’t suck at anything….but your mind tells you that you do.
I just finished reading Adam Baker’s great post on How To Not Suck at Blogging. Besides being a great read, it inspired me.
Just as Adam laid down some rules any blogger can use to “not suck” at blogging, I believe there are certain tools you can use to have a “suck free” experience while you are here on this planet – even if you aren’t a blogger.
The first and most important rule is this:
1. You Only Suck If You Tell Yourself You Suck
Be honest. Besides your teenage kids, when is the last time anyone said to you, “You suck”? Unless you are still in high school or are a full-time Hells Angel, my guess is, it’s been a very long time.
In fact, I’ll bet the last person who told you this…was you. Am I right?
For some terrible reason we are very proficient at treating ourselves worse than our worst enemy would – if we had an enemy (which we probably don’t).
I don’t know where this comes from and I don’t give a damn anymore. I am officially declaring war on attacking anyone from here on…so Neal won’t be attacking Neal anymore.
If you find yourself attacking yourself with negative crap talk, write down 5 reasons why you love yourself and then call somebody and tell them. Be brave. I know this is a hard thing to do but I will absolutely guarantee that the negative thoughts will stop if you take this action.
2. Stop Comparing Yourself to Anyone
My dad always told me that the only thing that really matters in life is trying your hardest. If you do that, you are successful.
This makes sense. If I’ve tried my hardest, what more can I do?
So why is it that I compare myself to others despite already having put in my best efforts? I’m sick of it. I’m declaring war on that too.
By any objective measurement, there is no part of my life that sucks.
- I have the family that I literally dreamed of having when I was a kid.
- I have a fine business that serves great people and provides for my family.
- I have time to write my blog and I’ve received some nice responses to what I write.
- I am healthy.
- I get to play music with some very cool people.
What sucks about that? Nothing.
Yet I’ve barraged myself with negative self-talk for years on almost all the blessings I have. And of course the easiest way to hurt myself is to compare myself to others.
Let me give you a few examples;
When I compare myself to other business owners, I ask myself why I’m not doing as well as some other friends in my industry. Rather than be grateful for still having a profitable business, I find a way to put myself down by comparing myself to others.
In terms of my body, I’m not obese but I’d like to lose about 20 pounds. Rather than be thankful for the problems I have, I compare myself to the Brad Pitts of the world and lament my bad fortune.
Music. I am not an accomplished musician but I play well and get to play with some great musicians. They keep calling me back so I must be doing something right. Yet when I listen to the radio and hear kids half my age doing things on the drums that I can’t even understand, I tell myself that I have no talent. Why? In college, I even stopped playing for 10 years because when I got there, I met players who were so much better than I was. What a shame and waste.
Am I the only person who does this? Nope.
I’ll never forget the time I spent an hour with a super rich and successful buddy of mine. Believe it or not, this cat makes over $1 million a month! Do you think he’s happy about it?
He isn’t. He told me how much money his buddies from law school make and was feeling sorry for himself.
You’re making it all about you…and it’s not.
You’re spending too much time in your head and it’s getting boring. Here’s an idea – do something for somebody else. Don’t wait to “want “ to be of service…..just do something despite how you feel about it. This can be as involved or as simple as you want.
Here are a few quick ideas you can do right now:
- Go read a book to your kid.
- Go take a walk around your neighborhood and pick up trash.
- Ask your spouse if he’d like a back rub (are you reading this honey?)
3. Create Humility
One of my favorite people in the world explained that humility means being on the same level with everyone. Not better. Not worse. The same. If you tell yourself you suck at something that implies that someone else is better at it (which may be true) and therefore better than you (which is certainly not true).
So let someone – or everyone be better than you are at some activity. Just because someone else does something better than you, it doesn’t mean you suck. Who cares? Why let that mean anything? Understand that the only person who gives that fact any credibility at all is you. Stop it. Right now.
My experience tells me that the solution for lack of humility is spiritual in nature. It’s asking for help from a higher power. However, I believe there are practical things you can do to solve this as well.
When you lack humility, you lack self esteem. Do estimable acts. Things that prove to yourself that you aren’t worthless. You might have years and years of practice telling yourself what a piece of crap you are so this is going to take work.
But believe me, if you do estimable acts over a long enough time, sooner or later, the evidence is going to pile up and you’ll have more self-esteem. You won’t be looking around for evidence to support that notion that you suck because you’ll know that you don’t.
4. Get a New Currency In Your Life
We measure our success in life by how thin we are, how many readers we have for our blog, how big our house or apartment is (or isn’t), how much money we have, how much we travel etc.
It’s very “me” based and it turns “me” off.
It’s a system designed to perpetuate misery. There will always be someone who is smarter, better or faster. Always.
When I was in junior high school, I remember reading about a tribe in Africa that measured their wealth by what they gave away rather than by what they had. This story had a huge impact on me.
What if all our running around trying to have “more” is wrong? What if it doesn’t mean anything. I can tell you from working with people and money for the last 25 years, nobody has ever said that their greatest achievements in life had anything to do with money. Nobody.
What if our true wealth is derived from how much we try to help others? Close your eyes and imagine that for just a minute.
When you do…it’s really hard to have the “I suck” conversation with yourself….isn’t it?
5. Bonus Solution – Laugh at Yourself
I hate to tell you this but in less than 100 years, you and I will be dust.
Let’s enjoy the time we have. Even if we are a klutz or not great at volleyball, who cares? So what if you aren’t Angelina or Brad? Who cares if you aren’t Bill Gates or Madam Currie? It sure won’t matter in 100 years. It probably won’t matter in 100 days. Actually, it probably doesn’t matter now.
As long as you try your hardest, you can’t possibly suck at anything. You may not do something as well as others, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be proud of yourself for your best efforts. Believe me, I’d rather be around a person who tries her very hardest with modest results than a person who doesn’t put any effort in and seems to have everything flow his way. Wouldn’t you?