Doing Stuff You’re Bad At

I read this article on Lifehack about a year ago about finding a hobby you suck at, but enjoy. (8 Good Reasons to Be a Lousy Musician) It really stuck with me. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I have a little bit of a closet competitive streak. But, really, instead of inspiring me to get really good at everything, it makes me  afraid to try things I suspect I will be bad at.

(Please ignore all the hanging prepositions in this post. “Things at which I suspect I would be bad,” just doesn’t have the same conversational ring to it.)

I recognize this pattern of avoiding stuff to avoid “losing” is unhealthy. Getting over it is another thing altogether. I don’t play sports unless I can’t reasonably avoid it, and spelling bees are in the realm of the impossible.

There are two things that are helping me get over my unhealthy habit, though: singing and running.

Rolling Stones @ SD Sports Arena
Image by e15rimac via Flickr

I’m not sure singing really counts, but we’ll go with it. I’ve been singing since I was four or five years old with my sister in church, so I never really had a fear of singing in public. I felt like I was reasonably good at it, too, until college. Small fish, big pond, lots of singers who were actually good. Surprisingly, though, it didn’t lessen my enjoyment of singing to find that I was not as good at it as I thought. Really, it took the pressure of trying to be a great performer off, and just let me have fun. I still have lots of fun singing. It’s one thing I do every day, no matter what, and I don’t care that I’m not great at it. Still, I wouldn’t say I suck at it, and I was never afraid to try it, so not sure it counts.

my sneakers
Image by tim.la via Flickr

Running, though, totally counts. I am a very bad runner. Abysmally bad. Always have been, probably always will be. For a long time (especially after my freshman year of college in ROTC, when I was forced to confront my horrible running on a daily basis), I just wouldn’t do it, period. This year, though, I started running with a friend at work– no pressure, easy pace, just for fun.

And you know what? It’s not that bad. I’m still horrible at it, but it’s really not the end of the world that I suck at running. No one really cares that I suck at running except for me, and I’m slowly learning to care less that I suck at it. It’s actually fun to run with a friend through cute neighborhoods and enjoy the sunshine and conversation. Imagine that.

So how about you? What’s your hobby that you suck at but don’t care? If you don’t have one, are you going to get one? ;)

  • http://www.bethcaudill.net/ Beth C.

    Hmm, the only hobby I would want that I'm bad at is Tennis. I can't serve and 9 times out of ten the ball doesn't go over the net. Really, I'm bad and no one wants to play with me so therefore I've never had the chance to get better. So I just don't play. I have tons of other stuff: Reading, Cross Stitch, Roses, kids etc to keep me busy.

    BTW, I hate running – hurts my knees. Much rather use an elliptical or walk. And I used to sing but then I'd have to find a doctor to fix your hearing so it's much better when I don't…or I only do it in the car by myself. :)

  • http://www.jennmercer.com/ Jenn

    I think that pottery fills that place for me. I would not say that I am horrible, but I have a lot to learn. Instead of being frustrated, I find this gives me a warm, contented feeling. It helps that it is a creative art that is far from my usual specialties.

  • http://twitter.com/lectitans Kimberly @ lectitans

    I'm using this ID today!

    Running is it for me. Not that I've been doing it very long or consistently (stupid back pain and respiratory troubles!) but it's pretty nice. And of course, I told you about crochet already – I was so bad when I started. But I didn't KNOW, and it was fun, so I kept up. And now I look back at the first stuff I made and am so embarrassed.