On Not Sucking As Much


In almost everything we do, we aim for victories.

Victories keep up motivated and allow us to show off to friends and generally make us feel like the winners we are. Wooo team! Go victories!

But more often than not we can’t achieve victories in any trackable amount of time.

TRUE victories come after years and years of work and research and training and sweating blood until one day you reach the goal you had originally aimed for. By then, though, the path to victory has become such a normal part of life, it would seem strange to even celebrate. In a lot of cases, the crossing of these finish lines goes completely unnoticed.

And this is great, because it means that we are living for the journey, not for the goal, and that means we’re also enjoying life a whole lot more.

But it’s still fun to celebrate, so I’d like to make a modest proposal: let’s celebrate not sucking as much as we did before.

Because let’s be honest, when we start completely fresh in a new field of study, we generally suck pretty bad. ANY movement closer to mastery is a good excuse for wild hand-waving, raucous dance parties and all kinds of cork popping.

Any time you stop and realize that you don’t suck as much at something as you used to, at the very least give yourself a pat on the back and acknowledge that you’re continuing to move forward.

It’s not a full victory yet, but it’s a mile marker on the way to where you want to be.

Bonus: below is a quick video I threw together a few days ago on the one-week anniversary of me trying to learn to juggle after about a decade of wanting to try (but never making the attempt). Note that I totally suck, but not as much as a week before.


  1. Great inspiration for me to start to learn spanish. I really should start now (I’m planning on going to Chile for a month this summer – partly inspired by blogs like yours :) )

  2. Well done. I still remember the day I was taught to juggle. Something that seems so mysterious is actually a relatively simple exercise. Must be a lesson in that somewhere.

    I also remember being in Paris sitting under some shelter near Les Halles where about twenty jugglers were just practicing their skills. What an amazing show!

    • Right? It’s amazing to me…at each point along the way, it just took time to get to where it clicked, and then I could just do it. I get the impression most of the mental block is about not wanting things to fall, though that’s just a guess.

    • Right? It’s amazing to me…at each point along the way, it just took time to get to where it clicked, and then I could just do it. I get the impression most of the mental block is about not wanting things to fall, though that’s just a guess.

  3. Congrats on your milestone! Once you’ve learned the basics moves in juggling the trick is to just keep practicing. I’ve heard that 15 minutes of practice a day will help you learn any juggling move you wish to know.

    • That’s good to hear! Now that I’ve got the basics, I’m going to keep on practicing until I can join the circus and become a juggling bear balancing on a giant ball.

  4. Colin, I’m inspired! I’ve been claiming that I want to learn the violin for a few years now. But hot damn I’m going for it. I am going to dedicate my post to you for sure! Thanks for the inspiration and obvious encouragement.

    • Nice! Good for you for taking the leap!

      The violin is rad, and if you’re really feeling ambitious, you can learn a little fiddle while you’re at it (Devil Went Down to Georgia-style) :)

      Looking forward to keeping up with your progress!

  5. Amazing. I am totally up for this, especially since I just started school (again)… I’m frequently needing to remind myself that I don’t suck as badly as I used to…

    • Suckage is definitely a spectrum, not a location. Moving away can be a slow process, but it’s also an steadily-changing one, which definitely helps to remember when you’re in school!

  6. This is kind of… awesome. Keep doing crazy experiments and keeping me entertained :). P.S. I have yet to learn how to juggle… or whistle!

  7. Nice job Colin! I’ve been a juggler for about two years now, and in my opinion you’re looking pretty darn good for only a week of practice.

    You might not have heard, but besides being fun, studies have shown that learning to juggle can increase the amount of gray-matter in the visual processing areas of the brain – important for a design I would think. Check out this article from CNN: http://bit.ly/dkXT3B

  8. man I was surprised to hear catch hell blues in this video. great song choice.

    You’re not bad at juggling either. Give yourself a double back-pat

    Next challenge: light the balls on fire

  9. Appreciate the reminder to celebrate “small milestones” which is rather cliche and uninspiring. NOT SUCKING on the other hand is something I am proud to say I can identify with! I’ve embarked on quite a hefty assignment of my own and just keep seeing how MUCH there still is to get good at – but today I’m proud of myself cause I really don’t suck at it! (Funny how we can give others this advice sometimes and neglect to take it ourselves ;)

    Two things:
    – maybe dagger juggling in your future? (i mean that’s way cooler than a bear on a ball :)

    – Devil Went Down to Georgia: you may be a man after my own heart

  10. Pingback: Climb A Mountain, Tell No One | Blog Of Impossible Things | Blog Of Impossible Things

  11. Ok…this video is amazing. But wait…did this fervent attempt to learn to juggle happen AFTER I challenged you to a juggling match. Hmmmmmmmmmm. BTW, I’m impressed with your ability to whistle and juggle at the same time. I saw a P Clown do that once.

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