It’s ok to Suck

“Embrace the Suck” is a term I’ve heard many times in ‘other-than-scale-model’ settings. It was definitely a saying back when I spent hours and hours sucking wind on my mountain bike. One season, many years ago, I set out to get better and faster. I really wanted to stop walking the bike up steep rocky climbs in the woods. That spring I dedicated myself and I pushed myself.

Never getting off the bike no matter how tough the climb was a worthy goal. I got there eventually and it was an accomplishment. But, yeah, the process sure wasn’t fun. To me, ’embracing the suck’ simply means that to get better at something, one needs to accept that there may be a long period of pain or failure (or both) before there is success.

Even if I didn’t know the term’s origin, I understood it while leaning over the bike and vomiting beside the trail.

If you take anything away from this blog or whatever I do, take the part where I say that you need to actually build things and take risks to get better at this thing. Building things is the easy part. But taking risks? That can be scary. I’ll admit that I struggle with this one.

Part of it is my need to complete everything I start. Once I start a project, I don’t want anything to get in the way of completion. Trying new things can make a build go sideways. Attempting novel techniques can ruin a kit. So, there’s that.

But I think it’s more to do with the worry that I won’t be good at something that I want to be good at. Things like realistically fading the paint or creating believable scale scratches or getting wheels to look properly worn and used. You know, I want to make a model look realistically used and weathered instead of just being a dirty model or a freak display of various caked on finishing products. I also want to do things like scratch-build aircraft innards and make all that look like it’s ready to display at a museum.

In both instances, I know there is a learning curve. But I’m worried about not liking my results. And then having to strip paint, rebuild structures, and start over. And then eventually shelving kits or projects from frustration and just going back to what I’m familiar with and good at.

This, my friends, is the wrong mindset.

Because it’s ok to suck.

It’s ok to have trouble learning new tricks. It’s okay to have to practice and then apply a few times before I like my results. It’s okay that it might take me more than one attempt (or twenty) to pull something off. Because, seriously, who is keeping those stats? Indeed, no one is posting them.

What I need to do is accept that I will suck while I learn. And I’ll probably suck for a while because some of these things aren’t easy. And I need to accept that I will probably complete fewer models in a given year. But if I stick to it, I know I will like those models a lot more than the ones I am doing now.

The best part? It’s highly unlikely that I will vomit off the side of the workbench when I push too hard.

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