6 Things I Suck At

A few weeks ago, Chris Penn posted the following question on Twitter:

Assume you can do only one. Do you enhance your strengths or mitigate your weaknesses? Why?

I jumped all over it. My response:

Easy. Enhance strengths. Bigger payoff to be best at something than so-so. I’m a big believer in focusing on what you are good at.

Chris followed up his Twitter question with a blog post titled Strengths, weaknesses, tanks, DPS in which he listed all responses, made a connection to World of Warcraft (of course), and discussed some marketing implications.

I do a ton of self-reflection. I think it’s important to always be evaluating. Know your strengths and capitalize on them. Understand your weaknesses and accept them. This does not mean that you should not try to improve upon the things you are not good at. It’s just that if you focus your day on improving your deficiencies, you take away from time to shine. In some ways you become pretty good at many things, but not great at any one.

6 Things I Suck At

So, with that setup, I thought it was time to actually list the things I suck at. I’m sure there are more than the 6 I’ve outlined below, but this is a start.

  1. Saying no. I love helping people. I love trying new things. (I love beer and coffee too, but that’s not related to this point). I’ve always taken on more than I can actually tackle. In some ways I believe this is what has made me successful, but at times it causes me to miss deadlines and not give 100%.
  2. Sense of direction. When I come to a (literal) fork in the road, if the correct direction is left, I’ll go right. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been lost in my own city. I know that the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, but I still have no idea where I am. Even when I lived in Rochester, NY, I didn’t know which way North was (Lake Ontario was North).
  3. Focusing on a single task. I’m a multi-tasker. My mom always tells me that it’s bad for me. She’s usually right, but I just cannot seem to focus on one single task for too long. I’m not going to self-diagnose with Adult ADHD, but it’s something like that.
  4. Starting a project. I’m no good at diving into a task. Once I get into it, I love it. Starting … not so much.
  5. Basketball. I played a bit in junior high. I’m decent at defense, but I just can’t shoot the rock. Lots of airballs and bricks. Good thing my current or any future jobs don’t require me to be a good hoops player.
  6. Driving at night. I’m not sure if it has to do with wearing contacts or the fact that I’m 34, but I just can’t see so well at night.

So there you have it. I feel so much better now. How about you?

Now, of course, it’s your turn. What do you suck at? Care to share below? You’ll feel better admitting to it. Trust me.

DJ Waldow
@djwaldow

54 comments
Brad_Matthews
Brad_Matthews

Please add to that list; a) staying in touch. b) not giving peer pressure c) staying in touch d) tipping shirley e) staying in touch f) inability to listen to newer music g) staying in touch h) buying me a plane ticket to come visit

Jordan Premick
Jordan Premick

Wow, I think I may have too many to list, but I guess I will add the top 6:

I suck at:

1. Getting motivated since college baseball ended to keep myself in shape
2. Staying focused enough to start blogging again and other projects i have on the drawing board
3. 'Not' trying to burn the house down when cooking...(just ask Justin)
4. Talking slow
5. driving slow
6. letting my brother win :) , and if he does, taking it like a man haha

Wwaldow
Wwaldow

OK, so maybe I'm a little positive in my outlook of life, but really D, all six are extremely positive traits!
1] Saying No....forget it, you are just a caretaker
2]Sense of direction....Its a Waldow gene...can't be all bad then....
3]Multitasker...again just another positive Waldow gene
4]Night driving...another Waldow gene..glacoma runs in our family...Grampa Jack worried about it his whole llife, never had it...he was just a shitty driver!
5]Basketball...I know it repetitious,but again a very positive family gene..in high school I was known for my famous two handed jump shot...famous because in three years of high school it never went in the basket...but seriously in high school i inevitably was not picked in the pick-up games...which led to me having to sit on the sidelines with all the cute girls......

So how look at all these things .......they are areas in your life you choose not to excel in so that everyone around you will look better and feel better about themselves....ie, point #1 you are a caretaker.

~j.
~j.

Gardening.
Learning computer things.
Paying atten--something shiny!
Decorating.
Counting six things.

davinabrewer
davinabrewer

It's more than six things, I promise ... but I'll stop there. Many good ones have been listed: delegated, saying no, letting go, not self-promoting.

1. Trying to do it all. I'm a Solo PR, so that's tricky for me.
2. Trying to learn it all i.e. coding and writing and add yet another weapon to the arsenal. There's a time to niche, to specialize.
3. Balancing the Me time from the Work time. I do take time for myself, but the schedules bleed and blur into each other, so it doesn't really FEEL like I have personal time.
4. Knowing when to Let Go and When No to. I can let things roll off, and dig in my heels to get something done. But sometimes I pick the wrong battles, or don't pick the right ones.
5. Downshifting. So used to multitasking, parallel processing it's hard to focus on just one thing.
6. Buying the RIGHT lottery ticket, damn I suck at that!

JamieLee
JamieLee

1. I second saying "no." Gets me into trouble. All. The. Time.
2. Being on time (one of my least favorite things about myself.)
3. Turning off my email/facebook/twitter feeds so I can focus on work
4. Being in a consistent niche - I've always got a whole bunch of things brewing and they don't necessarily have anything to do with one another.
5. Coding. I know just enough HTML to get me into trouble, but my recent flailing around with WP, Thesis, and Filezilla have made my ineptness painfully apparent.
6. Mowing my lawn. Did it for the first time ever a couple weeks ago and to say it's uneven is kind. Looks like a drunken racoon went for a joyride on the tractor.

Ahhh ... I feel so much better now.
What's next? 6 things we're GOOD at, or did I miss that one?
;)

Jeannette
Jeannette

1. Censoring myself when I really should.
2. Taking time off for myself.
3. Really have a sucktastic way of opting out of projects I don't need to be part of.
4. Not charging people for my services.
5. Keeping the TV on one or two channels at a time, I'm a surfing lunatic.
6. Making time to harness all the little BIG thoughts racing around in my head.
7. Delegating & letting go when I really need to.
8. I suck at opening up more about my fears.
9. Lists, I suck at top "10" list completions.

David Murray
David Murray

I really like your honesty here, and it is something that we need more of when it comes to our communications on the social web. Saying no was something I had trouble with, until I got more comfortable with the idea of appreciating and respecting my time. That said, it wasn't hard to find 6 things I suck at.

1) Asking for help - I have no problem admitting I can't do something, but like Amber pointed out, I don't like burdening others with my problems. I need to learn that my friends and family are there for me both through thick and thin.

2) Being comfortable w/ my body - Not sure where this one came from, and there are probably deeper issues at play here :) But I have always, since I was young, never been comfortable with the way I look.

3) Letting go - I work really hard on this, but I have a hard time letting things go. This might stem from living w/ depression. Regardless, this is something that I wish I didn't suck at

4) Taking stock of my accomplishments - I don't give myself enough credit. At least that's what my wife (@JenniMurr) says. I'm my own worst critic and need to take the time to appreciate the good work I do. Otherwise it's just that...work.

5) Relaxing - being a Virgo I blame astrology for this one, but I do need to work on letting go, not getting worked up on things, taking time for myself, and breathing.

6) Lists - I really suck at theses. Takes me for ever, so I appreciate you asking for only 6 things we suck at! :)

cloverdew
cloverdew

1. Estimating how much time a project will take me to complete. I am getting better at this, but it's something I've always struggled with. I tend to severely over-estimate the time it will take me to do something...
2. Self-promotion. I was always taught that humility was a virtue, service to others was important and that I am here to make a difference in the world. I often see self-service as selfish and unnecessary. I'm working on working on myself, giving myself the same amount of energy, encouragement, time, and money as I give to others. It's a hard one for me, but I'm working on it.
3. Keeping my room organized. There's always clothes and books and stuff everywhere. There's a lot of "reasons" for it, but it's always been a challenge for me. I'm not sure it will ever be easy.

There are probably another three, but I think those are enough for now. ;)

AmberNaslund
AmberNaslund

Oh man. Okay.

1. Using the phone. I hate the phone. I avoid it, even when I need to use it. No idea why.
2. Making peace with not being skinny.
3. Delegation. I'm learning. For me it's not because I don't trust people. I'm GREAT at handing off the big stuff, but I suck at handing off tasks, because I feel guilty that I'm passing off work that's "beneath me" and making someone else do it. So I end up doing stuff that's not a good use of my time.
4. Laundry.
5. Not swearing in front of my daughter. I try hard, but I have some words just wired into my vocabulary, and not for the better.
6. Not taking criticism personally. I don't mind hearing it, actually, and I take it really well on the surface, but then I obsess over it, sometimes to an unhealthy degree.

I'm sure I've got more, but I'll hold it there for now. :)

Scott Cohen
Scott Cohen

DJ: Great concept. Seems to be a trend in the comments as well. Perhaps we're not all so different after all. Here's my list:

1. Making a decision and sticking to it. I'm horrible when it comes to making a decision about a tough situation and sticking with it through thick and thin. It's so easy to let the inertia settle in, and I'm not very good at busting through that.

2. Confrontation. I tend to internalize serious issues and never say anything until I'm ready to talk about the situation. While it can be good not to fly off the handle, often the inertia settles in (see #1) and I don't do anything about it.

3. With the above said, saying no and focusing on a single task kind of go hand-in-hand. In fact, all of these can kind of go together if you think about it.

4. Leaving short comments on other people's blogs (or leaving comments at all).

Justin Premick
Justin Premick

DJ,

Brave stuff, dude. Takes a real man (or woman) to look in the mirror and fess up that he (she) sucks at anything at all, let alone what those things are.

#'s 1, 3 and 6 are on my list too. I'm the opposite of you on #4 in my work dealings (I LOOOVE brainstorming and starting projects, but as they drag on it gets hard for me not to lose steam) but the same as you when it comes to personal projects.

And #6 may indeed have to do w/contacts... I'm not yet 30 but I wear contacts and I definitely prefer night driving in glasses instead.

I'd keep going (I'm big on self-reflection & analysis too) but my list would be quite a bit longer than your whole post.

kellibramble
kellibramble

I think we're a lot alike, I completely identified with most of your list..well, not the basketball one, I rock at horse, haha! Here's a few of mine!

1. Unplugging. I'm never unplugged for very long...It's awful, horrible and just plain silly, but if I wake up in the middle of the night, I usually check twitter. There are times I'm pretty sure my husband would love nothing more than to chuck my phone in the nearest pool of water that was deep enough to ensure it dead. :) And after writing and reading this over, I'm making it my goal today to focus on my family/friends when I'm with them, giving them the full attention they deserve!

2. Focus is a big one of mine. I'm constantly doing 5 things at once, and my mind is in 100 places besides that.

3. Procrastination. Don't know why I do it, but I do. I justify it by saying I work better under pressure, but it's unnecessary pressure I'm putting on myself that I really don't need.

Thanks for a post that really made me think DJ! Have a good day!

Millercan
Millercan

1) small details. add--need support to make sure the teeny things don't get dropped.
2) doing one thing at a time.
3) not having expectations of myself and others. i set the bar too high.
4) keeping my thoughts inside of my head when i should. i'm a NYer at heart.
5) organizing my thoughts and presenting in appropriate time, see #4.
6) hanging my clothes up. isn't that what my bed post is for?

lyns-tastic
lyns-tastic

really fun post! it's important to delegate the crap you can't do.
there are lots of tasks i don't intend to master:
1. cooking. ever.
2. driving the speed limit.
3. 1st person shooter games.
4. reading other people's minds.
5. playing a musical instrument.
6. detail-oriented crafts.
there's not enough time to be 'okay' at some of these- even with my best efforts. i would much rather put my time + energy into doing what i do well, and leave the rest to someone else.

Matthew Glidden
Matthew Glidden

Pretty good at starting projects, not quite so good finishing them up. This means about 6 things are kicking around my brain at a given time--and stress to keep it company!

sollmana
sollmana

1. Trying to do it all myself: I am a perfectionist and often I don't delegate because of the mindset "If other people can't do it to my standards, then I'll just do it myself." Unfortunately, this results in stress for myself and letting others slide by.
2. Holding others to extremely high standards: Again, it's the whole perfectionist thing. If I can do it at a high standard, why can't everyone else? Again, stress ensues on both sides. (Although, sometimes if people have the ability/desire to reach those standards, it can come in handy.)
3. Making the bed: Can't do it. There will forever be wrinkles and the comforter always comes untucked at the end.
4. Avoiding being the passenger-seat driver: I'll admit, this is only really bad when my boyfriend is driving, but still. I can't help but let out deep stressed out breaths when he takes a turn too fast or grabbing the oh-s*** handle when he doesn't hit the brakes quick enough. I've tried to restrain myself, to no avail.
5. Trying new food: I'm picky. Now that that's out in the open, I don't like trying new vegetables, flavors or anything that looks...well, not normal.
6. Doing my hair: Yeah, I know this is dumb and most guys are probably like "Huh?", but in my 22 years developing the skill of using a curling iron has still evaded me.

There, now that was fun! Great post, DJ!

Matt Cheuvront
Matt Cheuvront

Saying no has been a big one for me - especially as I'm still in the early stages of developing my own business. It's easy to say "yes" to everything and try to be everywhere for everyone (but you quickly learn it's just not possible).

The other thing I suck at - or I think most people suck at, and have to spend significant time figuring out is how to value yourself. How much am I worth? How much are my services as a business worth? Am I far too modest or charging way too much. That's been one of the most challenging things for me to figure out, and I'm still very much testing those waters.

Things I don't suck at? Beating my wife's brother into submission on NBA Jam. Yeah, definitely that.