You Suck

You Suck (But That's OK). You Suck At Things, Not As A Person. Go Slow, Work Hard, Screw Up. Get Better.

Throughout my life the words “You Suck” have been a constant companion. They’ve always been the shape that my personal breed of Resistance takes. Regardless of what it is I’m doing or thinking, those words have a tendency to move into the foreground of my mind. They attempt to shove out whatever I’m thinking about or I’m working on. They are a constant assailant on my confidence and my productivity.

I know these words are just my own doubt and fears. I know these words are a road to a far safer, yet far less interesting path. I know that attempting what they consistently tell me I cannot accomplish will only cause them to grow louder, but I can’t let them define my worth and my life.

This desire to overcome these two words keeps me motivated to deal with them. So while at the World Domination Summit, I was captivated by Brene Brown’s talk on shame and vulnerability. Her willingness to face her own fears got me thinking yet again about my own. Her courage in the face of everyday insecurities was nothing short of inspiring, especially to someone who is often undone by his everyday insecurities. And her efforts to find the answer helped me realize what I’ve needed all along to deal with those two words. They didn’t need a solution. They needed an answer.

And as she spoke, I found myself thinking and writing that answer out. I found myself accepting that to a certain extent I probably do indeed suck, but I don’t suck as a person. I suck at things. And if I stop trying to rush, put in the effort and accept that I’ll make mistakes, I can get better at those things. I can suck less, if I’m stop letting those two words, or anything else standing in my way for that matter, stand in my way. By the end of her talk, I’d sketched out a rough version of what my good friend Todd Chandler helped me turn into the image above.

It has become the answer I tell myself whenever those two dreaded words work their way back into my head. I’ve come to accept that to some extent they’ll always be there, but as much as I may have to accept their presence, I can’t let them derail me. So when they come back, I answer them by deciding what exactly it is that I might suck at and when I care enough about whatever it is I’m trying to do, I find a way get better.

What does your Resistance sound like and how can you answer it?

Note: This post is part of Yuvi Zalkow’s Fear & Failure Experiment of 2012 to celebrate the launch of his debut novel which you now can and should buy. I loved it, but then again my often crippling neurosis is a lot like Yuvi’s. If it helps, my wife loved it as well and she’s far more well adjusted (read: not Jewish).

I also can’t say enough kind things about Todd and his patience in helping me get this graphic right, you can and should see more of his work here.

7 Responses to You Suck

  1. […] Michael Schecter: “You Suck”. Who better to talk about sucking than Michael Schechter? He wrote the book on sucking. Or at least he should. And he probably will some day. He seriously does talk wonderfully about sucking, and the act of sucking less. It is always refreshing the way he approaches personal challenges with such humility. In this case, he even came up with a manifesto, of sorts (with the help of the fabulous Todd Chandler). […]

  2. I still think it’s funny that I can start from the perfectionist spectrum and you can start from the messy spectrum, and we both end up with the same “You suck” refrain in our heads. What is up with that?

    Lovely post and here’s to @trchandler for creating beautiful quotographs and manifestos. :)

      • I agree. I think how we see ourselves and how people see us are two very different things, and both are often wrong. I tend to live in a future that never comes or a past that never was. I’m happy to live in the now, whatever that means.

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