Become comfortable being uncomfortable / by Kiran Umapathy

It’s okay to suck at stuff.

Drawing is one of those things for me. I’ve shied away from it because my skills are embarrassing. In fact, I remember trying to draw gun for a report I did on gun control in 7th grade social studies and people laughing about how primitive it was. I’ve probably drawn four things after that because of those traumatizing experiences.

Today I was feeling inspired by a book I read called Art Before Breakfast. As I finished that up, I thought, let me draw these two chairs and table sitting in front of me at the coffee shop. It would be a start. A humble, atrocious start that’s still way better than not drawing at all.

Haha. This is awful. But it’s going to be way fun to see how much better I am in another month.

Haha. This is awful. But it’s going to be way fun to see how much better I am in another month.

One of the things you can enjoy about being terrible at something and improving is the learning curve. In the beginning you get better quickly. This happened to me with running. In the 8th grade, I ran a 9:04 in the gym class mile. Depressing. The next year I decided I’d find out when it was going to happen and practice for a few days before. 7:30. Not a bad improvement. I got all the way down to 4:37 in college, which isn’t spectacular by Division 1 standards, but still makes you faster than well over 99% people in the world. You can argue I had some latent talent buried inside of me, but I still don’t completely believe that. What it taught me, rather, is that I can become respectable at just about anything I make an concerted effort in. I still believe that.

I don’t think we need to feel ashamed at not being able to do something or doing it poorly. Think about what you’re proficient at. You probably were terrible at it in the beginning. You suck at lots of things. But everyone does. A lot of life is just about showing up and making an effort. Is it uncomfortable? Yes. But perhaps the best skill you can develop is to be comfortable being uncomfortable.