To embrace the suck is to consciously accept or appreciate something that is extremely unpleasant but unavoidable. Military personnel began using this mantra in the nineties, partly as a wisecrack, but also as a coping mechanism. It's an acceptance driven, reality based way for the grunts to remind themselves of what's true for them in the moment. Face it, soldier, this ain't easy, so let's deal with it. This mantra, however, will only work to the extent that a person's motivational system allows for it. Because certain personalities are driven by overcoming challenges. Hard things that are out of their reach are particularly compelling to them. While others prefer things to be simple, easy and uncomplicated. Which one most describes you? And keep in mind, neither of these is right or wrong, it simply makes embracing the suck more of an uphill battle.
FORGING — Motivating your creativity by forcing yourself to overcome unpleasant but unavoidable challenges
Louie, whose existential comedy has always made me laugh and made me think, is a shining example of embracing the suck. He has this annual tradition, when crafting his newest hour of standup, that he opens his newest set with the previous year's closing bit. When asked why he would do such a thing, his answer was, just to fuck myself. The end of my last act cauterizes me, and the work gets stronger because I don't have a choice. That's what happens when you get rid of all your best weapons first, explained in an interview. You take away your easiest path forward.
What I think is brilliant about this forging approach to creative growth is that the comedian is honing his ability to do things when he doesn't feel like doing them. The end of the year is the end of the year. That's his reality. When the calendar rolls over, he has to find the confidence and courage within himself to continue the difficult climb upwards. Otherwise he's dead. What's your favorite way to embrace the suck? How could fuck yourself the most today?
Forging may be a bit masochistic, but then again, life is going to crush us anyway. We may as well get the first punch in ourselves. May as well aim for consistency and regularity in activity, regardless of how we feel. Besides, everything that we love in this life we have to work for. Nobody appreciates anything that comes easy. Only the things that are hard to come by make us better. Only through the process of accepting and appreciating the extremely unpleasant but unavoidable that we grow. How could you take away your easiest path forward?
Make your work stronger by removing choice
Stretch your creativity by taking away your best path forward
Master the art go doing things when you don’t feel like doing them
Feel the satisfaction of achieving goals that are hard to come by