“Try not to suck” ~Joe Maddon
I was recently driving to Wrigley Field with my cousin when she said she needed a “try not to suck t-shirt”. Having seen them only briefly when watching a game the news that this was the 2016 Cubs motto hadn’t really made it’s way to Bend, OR. I let it pass but was thinking, “I don’t want to wear that”. Try not to suck? Can’t we do better than that? What about visioning the best you possible and being that person? Getting up every day from where you are with what you have doing your best from that place? Know you are awesome and act accordingly? These were the cheerleading slogans I wanted to don.
Once we got to Wrigleyville I saw the seemingly low standard advice everywhere. Every shop we went into, every third person you saw was wearing it. My brother and his wife showed up wearing matching t-shirts so excited to be sporting the statement and I finally asked, “what was the context of this, when did he (Joe Maddon) say it?” I learned that when Javier Baez was brought up from the minors he was sent to Maddon’s office and the advice that Joe gave to this very young and assumingly very nervous kid was just to go out there and “try not to suck”. This soon became the slogan for the team who was first in the league to clinch their division and recently won their 100th game.
I instantly realized the power of the statement and thought “wow”. To take the pressure off a young player like that who was about to perform on the biggest stage of his life. And then I thought, “what if we all took the pressure off ourselves a bit? This isn’t just a slogan for baseball, this is a slogan for life”.
What if we all softened just a bit?
Were a little less critical? Judgmental?
Worried less about perfection and more about happiness?
What if we all had more compassion? Acceptance?
Were quicker to forgive?
Gave each other the benefit of the doubt?
To me what Joe Maddon was saying was, “listen, you are going to go out there and make some mistakes. You will go out there and probably not be the best, you might fall down, you might even fail. But if you are trying not to suck it means you are showing up every day from where you are with what you have and essentially are doing your best, working hard and taking personal responsibility all without the pressure of needing to be perfect. Because you already are. So go be human and have fun.”
The philosophy of our spiritual practice begins with the premise that we “of God”. We are spiritual beings (perfect, unlimited) in human form (flawed, impermanent). A teacher of mine says so often students come to the yoga mat wanting to become more spiritual but that is impossible. If our heritage is Divine then we can’t possibly become more spiritual, but what we can do, is work on embracing our humanness.
My need to be perfect was what pushed me against the slogan in the first place. I believe that this is one of my biggest assets because it ensures that I’m going to show up prepared, organized, clear, ready. And it is one of worst flaws stopping me dead in my tracks and holding me back from the most exciting things in life because I believe I won’t be good enough. Trying not to suck (my new mantra) may sound ridiculous but it takes the weight of the world off my shoulders (as I’m sure it did Baez’s that day in Maddon’s office). In just a few days it has stopped me from spinning out about things I can’t control or from responding from a place of judgement or criticism. This is a reminder that I’ve gotten before in my life and here it is again because I’m human and I forget and remember, forget and remember. You’re already perfect, now go be human and HAVE FUN! I recently read that Maddon put a disco ball in the clubhouse because he believes in celebrating. Hmmmmm….wonder how that would look in my living room?
"You are already perfect, let's learn to embrace our humanness"