Live Free or Die: The Art of Sucking

Tips for How to Be the BEST Beginner Possible!

Starting something new can get the butterflies fluttering in your stomach. It can be both scary and exhilarating all in one whirling moment. But sometimes you stop yourself from trying new things for fear of “being a beginner.” It seems as though no one wants to be one of “those” these days.

Close your eyes for a moment and visualize yourself standing at the foot of a large mountain, knowing that you must go over, through or around it somehow…How do you approach the mountain? Do you see it as a towering mass of jagged horror OR a beauteous course of wonder to climb, explore and enjoy?

When approaching new opportunities with a sense of excitement, you will find ability, confidence, power, and endless possibilities. Being a beginner is actually one of the most wonderful places you can be because of the boundless potential! And yes, when you start, you will probably suck. And you’re supposed to! It takes wobbly legs and uncertainty to BUILD fundamental foundations; and you can’t spell fundamentals without FUN.

Being “really good” at something, on the other hand, can send you tumbling into complacency and stagnation. Methods and practices that have the ringing reverberation of “this works” becomes sharpened and in focus. Blindness to possibilities for the future sets in and you just might miss greatness in your peripheral vision.

A few years back, I actually wrote a beginner’s workshop all about this topic (it’s still in my archives and it is literally titled “The Art of Sucking: How to be the BEST Beginner Possible”) as it pertains to beginning a yoga practice. I sent it out to four different studios and guess what? No one picked it up. Some studios thought I should change the language because it could turn people off. That’s when it really struck me; if I hadn’t noticed it before, I saw clearly then. No one wanted to be a beginner and no one even wanted to have a conversation about what being a beginner can actually feel like.

Respectfully, SUCKING was and is my entire point. We are all adults here and are capable of gracefully facing the very fact that sometimes we do just suck at something, no cushions. And SO WHAT. It doesn’t mean that you will suck forever. What it does mean is that sucking/ sliding/falling/ and perhaps even embarrassing yourself doesn’t stop you from expanding yourself, trying new things, having fun and being a beginner again.

Dave Grohl said that Nirvana only became Nirvana because a bunch of kids got together, had some fun, and sucked a whole lot…. for a long time.

Enjoying only the things that you are good at is a great recipe for staying the same and not growing. Ever. Wanna grow? Find something new and suck at it until you don’t. And yes, you can enjoy doing things that you suck at. I’m sure you know someone who can not hold a pitch but it doesn’t stop them from belting it out. Good for them! What are your excuses for why you can not or will not or have not done X?

Spoiler alert: YOU ARE THE MOUNTAIN. Not your “circumstances”, not your “disabilities”, “lack of this” or whatever else. You. You are the only thing standing in your way. Get over, through or around yourself. You got this!

Welcome to Live Free or Die, a monthly column on LIVING rather than just being ALIVE.

About Justine Bacon 11 Articles
Justine is an explorer of body, mind and world. Hungry by nature, she travels near and far in search of her next meal. Along her travels, Justine has visited breathtaking places and met some of the most incredible people. Moved, challenged, enlightened and humbled by their stories, Justine is eager to tell their tales. An avid label reader, she scrutinizes standard practices, placing food and food companies on her chopping block. An advocate of her own health, she works to inspire others to do the same by revisiting our ancient history with food and fiercely questioning the status quo. Justine loves being active and outdoors as much as possible. In her free time, she enjoys making playlists, reading menus and listening to podcasts. Justine holds a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Temple University and lives in Philadelphia with her partner Jeff and their 3 animal babies Bings, Marty and Elvis.

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