You don’t suck.

Everyone thinks they suck, and it doesn’t matter.

I teach people who have never or barely painted, and I noticed something. As soon as they pick up the brush, they comment on how bad they are at it. I hear “I suck,” “I’m the worst,” and “I can’t paint,” floating throughout the room —every single time.

It’s universal. I thought about all the times I have this thought.

I tell them “don’t worry, everyone thinks they suck, it doesn’t matter.” It’s universal. I hear the same thing from professional artists all the time. They believe that they suck too sometimes, but they choose to ignore judgment and do it regardless. They are not more talented nor do they think they are better than non-creatives, they just ignore the internal and external critics. The people that make stuff do it regardless because they know the payoff of creativity.

It is worth it.  I see it in the eyes of the people I’ve just guided through a painting each week.  The payoff is the process. Witnessing people get out of their heads and away from stress as they focus on shapes and color while making something each week is my proof. The energy in the room is different. I see a light in their eyes. They don’t care anymore if they suck- they are enjoying the process. They are looking through a different lens.

Last week I happened to catch a Bob Dylan concert, and I thought about whether he ever had these thoughts. I wondered if he ever questioned his talent and I wondered how others reacted to him at the start of his career. He had such an unusual singing voice for his time; he must have gotten some criticism, but he made the music regardless. Imagine if he hadn’t. Imagine if he never created his incredible body work and we all missed out on it.  To create, you must ignore criticism, your own or anyone else’s. It is always there. It does not matter.

The payoff of creating things and putting them in the world is worth more than whatever minor ego bruising that occurs from you or someone else’s opinion of it. The feeling of making stuff alone is worth it. Every successful creative person knows that for every good piece of art, music, writing, dance, business, application software, or sauce, etc. they’ve created, they have also made piles of bad ones. They do it regardless, and you should too because it is worth it. The only way to know this is to start making stuff.

Imagine the world if everyone was creative.  It’s a muscle we all have and the more we use it, the stronger it gets.  Imagine the kind of world we would live in if everyone was creative.



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