As kids, we are used to being crappy at things. We are crappy at most stuff most of the time. We go around – from crappy keyboard-playing to crappy maths homework – without a second look. We were all once gloriously crappy at everything we did. We rode our bikes into strangers and painted bizarrely-shaped people and got stuff wrong. All the time.
And then – we grow up. We get better at stuff – good even, and in some cases, we become gloriously good. We forget how it feels to be crap. We forget how carefree and rubbish we were at everything, and we stop ourselves when we are thrust into that childish place of not-being-able-to. It’s embarrassing, we think. It’s shameful. In some cases, we hate being bad so much that we stop playing the scales on our new guitar, or stop going to tap lessons, or don’t try speaking a new language in front of people – for fear we might show ourselves up to be a crappy grown up.
But what’s mixed up about all these feelings is that when we’re in that place of feeling awful at something, often it’s because we’re doing something new. It’s hard to be new and awkward and terrible at something, but if you can open yourself up to it, it can still be really quite glorious.
And so with this in mind, I have started running. I am a truly, honestly, terrible runner. I stop, I sweat from literally everywhere, I pant, I do Ugly Running Face, I almost certainly take longer to run up a hill than I do to walk – but I am gloriously crappy at running. I’m doing it not to be perfect and win races, I’m doing it to try it out. To test out what it’s like. To have an opinion. To see what my body can do. As I’ve been enjoying my crappiness so much, I nearly missed my actually getting better.
You can apply this approach liberally in whatever it is that you choose to do: cooking, sewing, speech-writing, herb-growing. Be crappy! I implore you: be gloriously crappy. Let go of the pounding desperateness to be good at everything and just enjoy sucking at something. It doesn’t take away from your other achievements and it certainly won’t make you worse at anything – in fact, new experiences and projects nearly always make you better at everything.