Are You In The “Suck Phase?”

I love the suck phase.

Why? Because you might as well.

What's the suck phase? It's that period when you first start any venture when your enthusiasm and hopes get you going, and then you crash into the reality that you suck. You have no idea what you are doing, and any degree of competence or return on effort is still rather a long way off. It sucks.

Everyone wants to be a writer. Everyone wants to produce that great work of art, or be a glorious entrepreneur. But how many keep going through the suck phase--which, in the case of truly great anything, is usually many many years off?

I say embrace the suck.


The suck phase actually makes achievement sweeter. It means what you are trying to accomplish isn't easy. Without the suck phase, expertise would be meaningless and less satisfying. Would a heart surgeon have that extra spring in his step (yes, sometimes veering into insufferable arrogance) if we could all just undertake such heart surgery on one another without years and years and years of tremendous dedication and training? No way.

The suck phase also reduces competition, which is handy.

It helps to be conscious of the suck phase. You will be less buffeted by emotions and discouraged if you recognize that it is normal to have no clue--to actually get worse at something once your "beginners mind" wears off and you actually try to implement technique which you haven't yet developed.

The greatest key to making it through the suck phase is actually, truly liking and being drawn by what you are doing. Drawn to it for its own sake rather than the glory associated with it (though it's ok to be drawn to the glory as well to a degree). See other suggested strategies here.

So here's to the suck phase. It sucks, but it may be the start of something marvelous.

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