Skinny Girl Thrower: Why I Like Doing Things I’m Not Good At

I was having an awesome session with a client a few weeks ago and we got to talking about why we do the things that we do. My super client said that she couldn’t love doing anything that she wasn’t good at–she didn’t do things that she wasn’t good at because she wasn’t good at them…if that makes sense.

I realized that I was surprised at her response. I’m not sure why I was surprised, because I think that most people in the world don’t love doing things that they’re not good at.

I’m different from those people, though.  I actually like doing things that I’m not good at.

I mean, if I’m reeeeeally bad at it, I probably won’t like it at first, but if I’m just “not good” at it, I see it as something that I can work to improve.

Take the shot put for example: when I first started throwing shot in high school, I was okay at it. Not bad, but also not good.  There was something about throwing that made me want to get better at it.

There is a lot of technique involved in throwing the shot. In practice, I used my brain a lot more than my brawn. Come to think of it, maybe I would have been a better thrower if I had used more of my brawn and less of my brain.

I liked throwing the shot because I liked to surprise people. I wasn’t  built like a typical thrower. Okay, maybe I was/am, but on a smaller scale. I’m short for a shot putter at 5’4 1/2″ and in college I was always one of the smallest girls to compete. I loved to surprise people by being better than they thought I was. I liked having people size me up and think that they could beat me because they were bigger…and then pull out a super throw and beat them or at least stay in the game.

I liked trying to be good at the shot put because it’s something that people didn’t expect me to be good at…and I wasn’t good at it at first. I worked at it and got better. It was all about the technique with me. In college we even made pink t-shirts that said so. We called ourselves the “skinny girl throwers” or S.G.T Hamilton XXS.

Even though I started out being not good, I stuck with it and I worked hard and eventually became good enough. So yes, I like doing things that I’m “not good” at. Things like butterfly pull-ups, drawing and talking to strangers. I like doing these things because I like getting better at them. I can deal with being “not good” at something if practicing it means that I’ll eventually be “good enough” at it.

What’s something that you’re technically not good at, but like doing anyway? Or something that you used to be not good at that you stuck with and got better at?

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4 Responses to Skinny Girl Thrower: Why I Like Doing Things I’m Not Good At

  1. Melissa Joulwan August 2, 2011 at 2:02 PM #

    I find a lot of freedom in doing the things that I’m not very good at doing. I play the piano and write pretty well — I was good at those things when I was a kid and that’s where I put my energy… so I got even better at them. But the expectation was that I WOULD be good at them because I had a little “natural talent” or whatever.

    What I LOVE about athletic pursuits is that I’ve never been at that stuff. I was a clumsy, overweight teenager and didn’t exercise for the first time til my mid-20s. I have ZERO expectation that I’ll be good at CrossFit-related activities, so I approach them with a sense of wonder and fun– and sometimes, I do pretty well, and sometimes it’s a disaster. But I love the doing… almost MORE than the stuff I can do well because I’m way less hard on myself with physical stuff.

    • AllieNic August 3, 2011 at 7:50 PM #

      I totally understand that “natural talent” thing. I guess if I were SO bad at something that there was NO WAY I’d EVER get better, I would probably save myself the aggravation. Like playing the Cello– I did that for like a minute when I realized that my left hand couldn’t do something totally different from my right hand…also why I can’t play the piano.

      I also get why you like doing the hard stuff almost MORE– less pressure, more fun time!

  2. Jenn August 3, 2011 at 8:53 AM #

    I was always in the “if I’m not good at it, I’m not going to do it” camp. I was always the “smart” one, and I read an article recently about that, and the problems it causes. I was always told that I did well in school because I was smart, not because I worked hard. Eventually I began to believe that if I wasn’t naturally good at it (like being smart) then I never WOULD be good at it. I was never taught to work hard to get better, I was simply praised for a natural ability. It stuck, I will say, and I’ve been working hard at the idea that I can get better at something.

    • AllieNic August 3, 2011 at 7:53 PM #

      Thanks for sharing, Jenn– I’m glad that you’re looking for things to get better at doing! What have you come up with so far?

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