Hi. I’m Shelby Bouck. And I like to think I don’t suck at doing stuff.
I started this blog because, while I firmly believe in not being absolutely miserable at things you do, the American culture defines “not being absolutely miserable at something” as “being perfect at something”. Think about it: if you’re not really, really good at school, making money, raising kids, looking attractive, cooking, positive thinking, working out or any number of common but somewhat arbitrary activities, our national resolution is to tell you (and treat you like) you’re really, really bad at it. That dichotomy comes a lot from advertising–if a company can make you think you suck at being a person, they can sell you more stuff–but it’s ingrained in our collective American capitalism-and-masochism-loving brains as gospel truth. The winners go home feeling not like they’ve accomplished something great, but like they’ve done what they’re supposed to, and everybody who comes in second place on down feels inadequate. Excellent has become average. And that is truly what sucks.
I’m not advocating for participation trophies here. If you’re bad at Little League baseball, you should not be told you’re good at Little League baseball. If you graduated at the bottom of your class in medical school, I don’t want you operating on my brain. If you’re the world’s worst engineer, you should not be designing airplanes that will be performing transatlantic flights–and if you’re the world’s best engineer or brain surgeon or Little League baseball player, you should be rewarded for that. I just think that there’s a lot of in-between here. The world’s best and the world’s worst are not the only categories, and you don’t have to be the world’s best at everything. You don’t even have to be your country’s best or your state’s best or your university’s best or your family’s best at everything, or even more than one thing. Everyone doesn’t have to be great at everything, but everyone does have to (and can) be decent at a lot of different things.
That’s where I come in. I’m gonna teach you how not to be awful at things most people have to do on a regular basis, whether that basis is weekly or monthly or yearly or just “as needed”. Be excellent at your passions. Save your energy for those. As for the rest… just don’t suck.
NOTE: All opinions expressed on this blog are my own. They do not reflect the views of my employer or any organization of which I may be a part. Thankfully, I’m far too interested in people liking me to say anything which might be divisive enough to need this disclaimer, but here it is in all its vague glory regardless.