Have The Courage To Suck

I recently heard Seth Godin (marketer guru, blogger) say in an interview that he’s only written a handful of “perfect” blog posts. To put it in perspective, this guy is a daily blogger and has been for years (a decade or more, I think). He’s also written 18+ books, many of which are bestsellers. And in 2009, Time named his blog one of the Top 25 of the year. He is widely considered a thought leader of thought leaders. Much of what the zeitgeist talks about in marketing, entrepreneurship, and work in general is because of him. 

And this dude has the audacity to claim that he has only written a handful of “perfect” blog posts? 

Of course he does. Most of what Seth Godin has created isn’t all that brilliant in his eyes. It may be close, but it isn’t quite there.

Because like host of This American Life, Ira Glass, points out there’s a “taste gap” in any creative endeavor. That is, you get into the arts, in business, or any other field that requires creativity because of your “taste” or rather what you believe is good, worthy, and real. As you begin creating for yourself, you quickly learn you aren’t all that good. You can’t quite grasp the form or the cadence of the people you aspire to be like.

You have to maintain the will to push through what Seth calls the “the dip” or the point in which you realize that everything sucks, your idea is shit, and you aren’t even talented at all. And you have to have the desire to wake up day after day and put in the effort and crank out the reps.

It is through consistency, it is through mundanity, that Seth became great. He refused to cede to perfectionism (really just fear disguised).

But more than that, that he had the courage to suck—to put out imperfect work over and over again in hopes that someday one idea just might click.

If you are on a journey to become good at something, let alone great, there is no other path.

First, you have to have the courage to suck.

And maybe someday, we’ll all suck a little bit less because of it.

Or so I hope.

Kate Ward