You Suck. Get Over It

You Suck Updated
Life isn’t a steady escalator. Sometimes getting better requires that you first get a lot worse. If you can’t admit to yourself that you suck at something, chances are it will hold you back from future improvements.

Pride, ego, fear of rejection, call it what you will. The result is the same. Part of you likes your temporary holdout in life. It isn’t the work that scares you, or even the unknown. It’s the fact that in order to move forward you have to get your hands dirty.

Examples of “I Suck” Moments Creating Progress

I’d like to argue that “I Suck” moments aren’t the rarity. Letting go of what you already have is a crucial part of many improvements. Here’s just a few examples of how failing to utilize “I Suck” moments could hold you back:

The Dead-End Job

You want to start a business. But you don’t know anything about business. In fact, you’re pretty sure it can’t compete with the salary you are already earning. Your job is comfortable, but it doesn’t make you want to leap out of bed each morning. Your choice is either to face the inevitable “I Suck” moment, ignore your pride and get started with your business. Or go back to working the job that will eventually suffocate you.

The Dull Relationship

You’ve been together for months but the passion isn’t there any more. But you haven’t been dating in awhile and you’re worried you can’t do any better. Your choice is either to stick with someone who isn’t right for you or admit you suck at dating but go through with it anyways.

The Out-of-Shape Body

It’s been years since you’ve hit the gym. Now you want to get back in shape, but it will mean departing from your days of youthful fitness. Your choice is to either admit you suck at exercising and struggle out with the basics of fitness and willpower others have mastered – or continue to live an unhealthy life.

The examples of “I Suck” moments being the deciding factor are numerous.

I have personally had many “I Suck” moments in my own life. As a shy, introverted kid it took a lot of pride-swallowing to admit I had to learn a lot about communication and socializing. I started on the bottom and faced more than a few failures. Now I have hundreds of friends and consider it to be a personal strength.

When I started this blog I was only seventeen and new to writing, blogging and hardly an expert. I had to face up to the “I Suck” moment and work hard to gain traffic. Looking at months of virtually no subscribers was just a small part of the ego-dissolving I needed to do.

How to Push Past the “I Suck” Moments

Nobody wants to be bad at something. Nobody wants to take a step backwards. Nobody wants to move from a comfort zone where you already kick-ass to one where you feel out of place. But sometimes it needs to be done.

Here’s just a few ideas I’ve found helpful for pushing past “I Suck” until you can eventually say “I’m Great!”

  • Cut Denial – The hardest step is admitting you have a problem. Admitting that an area of your life isn’t as great as you want it to be. Or facing the truth that your current direction, while comfortable, isn’t taking you anywhere.
  • Face Your Pain – Don’t fight it. If you feel crappy, search through it. Don’t dilute your depressed or uncomfortable feelings about a bad area of your life. Write out your thoughts and feeling. Admit “I Suck” liberally. It will substitute a chronic pain for an acute one. But facing those thoughts is the only way through them.
  • Start at the Bottom – Push through your pride and start back at the bottom. If quitting your boring job to pursue your dreams means a cut in salary, you might have to take it. Losing one relationship may mean you need to stumble in your dating life.
  • Find an Anchor – Find something that gives you self-worth. Anchor yourself in something more permanent so your self-esteem doesn’t crash when you face the “I Suck” moment. This could be family, spiritual beliefs, knowledge, close friends, skills or even the present.

You Don’t Really Suck

“I Suck” moments are an illusion in themselves. As painful as they are, once you go to the other side, you can’t imagine not having done it sooner. Although it may appear to be a dip in quality of life, the opposite often occurs. Looking back, the “I Suck” was more brief than it had first appeared.

  • confess

    The thing to remember is that everyone has these moments – the choice is falling into the moment for a long time or taking the necessary steps to get past it.

  • Carl of PseudoPower

    Wow. This couldn’t have come at a better time. I recently quit my job to go on my own. I’ve had ideas, but my minds keeps playing tricks on me. Am I really smart enough to succeed on my own? Is this a good idea? etc. However, I don’t have a hard time getting over it anymore.

    I like the fact that you brought up ego. I think I will need to be careful in the future about making sure I don’t hold on to failing ideas because of my attachment. I just need to admit that I suck, learn, and take action again.

    On the other hand, verbally telling yourself “I Suck” probably isn’t the best idea. Your subconscious might run with it. I’d personally stick to something softer like “I don’t know what I’m doing, so I need to either learn more or quit”. Well… nevermind.


  • Scott Young


    The “I Suck” moment is an admission of humility. I suppose it should be extended to “Right now I suck, but hopefully with enough effort and patience I can become great.”

    I’ve felt crappy when starting a lot of new things. It doesn’t take long to push past “I Suck” but push past it you must.


  • Kevin

    Great Post. Inspiration.

  • Afraz

    This was a great post on a great blog! Thanks Steve Young. In my life I have had many ‘I suck’ moments and I have found that you can actually make people envy you when you fail at something. For example my brother failed his SATs and when everyone was requesting as to why this happened my brother stood tall and gave a very inspirational speech which moved everyone. One of the great things he said in his ‘speech’ was ‘the past is the past, lets focus on the future’

  • Scott Young


    It’s actually Scott (not Steve) but who’s counting? 😉

  • Afraz

    Sorry Scott for calling you Steve! I feel like a real twit! Anyway, keep up the good work!

  • Scott Young

    No problem Afraz.

  • kenneth daniels

    It’s another great post , taking an honest assessment of the situation & taking action even when it’s way out of your comfort zone. Thus we grow & don’t suck & we have success if we have are efficient in our original look inside at the “real” situation we “suck” at. Thanks Again

  • David

    Hello Scott,

    I used to keep in-line with your articles, RSS and all, but I fell out of loop with the ideas of lifehacks when they became theoretical in routine, rather than practical.

    I am 17-years-old myself, and I’m always drawn to your blog in particular: you carry a similar sense of self-esteem and wisdom one finds in much older lifehackers, with a highly refined sense of self.

    Lucky for you, you seem as motivated as those who resort to lifehacking as a means to either overcoming or approaching the hump of having been lost in vice or reaching that age (mid-life evaluation, maybe? not to generalize upon any particular age), and so, I generally take your words as more than salt considering the many ‘messages’ I’ve read on the internet.

    I have a question, but it’s a big one, and so I hope you won’t mind taking the time to respond. I’d rather receive a response from you, someone who I feel can genuinely relate to my circumstance, rather than sit from the pedestal of self-improvement and beckon to simply change for the sake of it.

    How did you trigger the ability to take the first steps, the middle steps, and the last steps? I’m always bound by an overwhelming sense of apathy: what does it matter? Making the change has benefits, and yet on every coin, there are two faces. I find myself always questioning my true motivation (and if it is purely for the sake of others, or even more than halfway for others, or maybe only a fraction for others, I have a hard time doing it). Sometimes, I can’t even summon the motivation at all. I feel deadlocked, and unable to commit to even the most basic things. I find myself simply not doing things when I have incredible amounts of time. I feel the sense of boredom creeping when I waste time on the computer, or even sometimes with friends! Yet, I creep away from responsibility, always tired of ‘dealing with it’. I’m not so self-destructive that I am in denial about my status, nor am I powerless to do anything about it, I’m just lazy.

    I feared that the problem linked to a chemical imbalance, however, that would imply I am more depressed than lazy. I genuinely enjoy life, especially when I have no worries whatsoever, just a blank page to start my day on.

    I can’t fast-forward through days where the menial and worthless bog me down. I can’t help but feel I’ve spent the last few years of my life waiting to finally get started. The time is rapidly approaching and I’m doing poorly. Excellent test scores (not saying they judge anything important, but I am not without my own abilities) are shadowed upon by depressing GPAs and poor attendance.

    From my limited and 17yo perspective, I feel like my progress of maturity has been stemmed by the failures of the ‘system’ we all somehow live in and are often held back by. I read that statement and see the arrogance drip from the words, but I cannot shake the overwhelming sense of self, telling me I am entirely correct.

    As much as I respect your words and agree with them, I cannot internalize them. Changing habits requires a sense of motivation, one that I have lost nearly entirely. Every time I am told to ‘zoom-in’ and appreciate the facets of day-to-day life, the joys of simple pleasures: kindness, progress, self-reform, I ‘zoom-out’ in a very Nietzsche way and I critique the reason, for what does anything really matter?

    I don’t enjoy simply observing it all, I want to change and as a means of such change, change what is around me. But all of it points back to the question without any answer.

    I suck, would you help me to stop?

  • Scott Young

    Hi David,

    Writing a blog comment probably won’t do any justice to the problems your facing. I know, because I’ve been there. Where things like habits and productivity seem unimportant because you don’t have the motivation to do anything.

    Where can you find the motivation?

    There isn’t going to be an easy answer. My suggestion is to avoid looking at the entire meaning of life and focus on the meaning of tomorrow. It might take your whole life to be fully satisfied with an answer to the meaning of life, but finding a meaning in tomorrow is closer to reach.

    How do you find a meaning in tomorrow?

    There are many routes people have taken to get an answer. I’ll share the two ways that really helped me:

    1) Setting goals.
    2) Finding something I’m passionate about.

    Setting goals you really care about is a good way to give your motivation a headstart. If you’re cynical and set goals you don’t think you’ll achieve, they won’t motivate you. But whenever you spend a lot of time contemplating what you truly desire, motivation usually follows.

    Usually it isn’t that we don’t have dreams, but that our dreams have been smothered by what we view as “reasonable”. If you can let yourself set goals and think about what you want, you can recapture some of that motivation.

    Setting goals isn’t an instant cure. There will still be times you lose motivation and slip into apathy. But they are helpful.

    The second path I’ve used to recapture motivation is to find something I’m passionate about. This is a harder path because you can’t force it. Stumbling on your passions isn’t as direct a route as goal-setting.

    The path isn’t easy, but it’s at least a path.


  • Steve Upstill

    I suggest replacing “You suck–get over it” with “Dare to Suck”. Not that you should continue what you’re doing if you suck at it, but that you need to deal with the fact that if you’re facing a long-term change/personal development, you’re going to suck at it for quite some time. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; in fact, it is absolutely essential to find a justification/motivation for the continuing effort needed for mastery (10,000 hours, right?), OTHER than the ego gratification of getting good at it. You have to get used to the idea of sucking, hard, for a long time.

    But it’s more than that even. If you expect to only do what you’re good at, you miss many opportunities to play around. “Dance like no one’s looking”, right? I originally got this idea from an article in Keyboard magazine (“Dare to Suck”, yeah!). The writer passed up an opportunity to mess around onstage with some serious musicians–many of his idols–just because he couldn’t get his head around the idea that it was okay to suck, that the real reward was in hanging it out there and finding out what would happen. And there are MANY situations in which nothing will happen unless you’re willing to take the leap and risk almost certain failure. BUT THAT’S OKAY!