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You suck (let me explain)

Well, okay, maybe you personally don’t suck, but there are definitely things you try in life at which you are not good initially or possibly ever. I’m no different. I too suck… at stuff.

When I was a research biochemist in Toronto, I sucked. I used to joke “Where else can you find a career in which a 95% failure rate is acceptable?" When I was a copywriter and creative director, I worked on advertising campaigns that did not achieve their goals and shared even more creative ideas that in hindsight make me cringe. And try your hand at comedy writing. Not all jokes land. As to my relationships, none of your business, but I am sure you can imagine.

Failure is normal. To be bad at something is normal. None of us comes out of the box fully capable of everything. We have to learn. We have to try. We have to fail. And the cycle repeats itself.

Failure is expected, but for some ungodly reason, we have demonized it (even my mixed metaphors suck). We have made failure personal. We have taken the failure of a project or failure to do something perfectly and made it a failure within ourselves. It is not that I have failed, but that I am a failure. I am insufficient. I suck.

Living in fear

For most of us, fear of failure taints our every thought process. Rather than risk failure, we procrastinate and then find ourselves up against deadlines where it becomes impossible to do our best work. Rather than risk failure, we get timid and at best, create ideas and work that are middle of the road, offending no one, but also satisfying no one. Rather than risk failure, we try to replicate past successes and delight no one (looking at you, Hollywood).

The thing is, you suck until you don’t. And the only way to no longer suck is to suck a lot.

So, let’s take back our suckage (not a word, but suck it up). When faced with something we have never done or considered before, let’s suck early and suck often. And let’s learn to suck spectacularly. Like planet-sized Dyson vacuum suckage!

Embrace the irrational

The best and most exciting brainstorming sessions I have ever led or participated in were those in which everyone shouted out the craziest ideas and complete non sequiturs. Forget the ideas that might work or sort of make sense. Scream out the ideas that make everyone in the room wonder if there is something wrong with you.

Because in those rantings of a lunatic are the seeds of innovation and novel perspectives on challenges.

Sure, you might get shouted down by status quo fetishists. On the other hand, you might just find that your willingness to suck opens the doors for others to suck, others who will see something in your ravings that maybe even you missed. THAT, my friends, is a good brainstorm.

You suck. Embrace that fact, lose the fear, and discover the superpower you did not know you had.

If you’re interested in learning more about the joy, freedom, and success that comes from suckage, please reach out to the team at Nicholas Lemon Productions. You would be stunned at the number and variety of things we gleefully sucked at (and still do).

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