5 ways “I Suck” Leads to Greatness: Reflections from a Comedian.

by: Adam Thomas


1) Look for your flaws
  • I don’t like looking at my stand up comedy videos. Instead of reminding me of what I did in that moment that night, it reminds me of where I was with stand up in 2012. It isn’t that I hate stand up comedy, I still do it often and every so often I receive compliments. The video is one place in time, and within it I see my flaws. Some things that pop out to me quickly, are that I have a hat on, my volume control is bad, and I’m stuck in place not performing. Finding your flaws suck. We all want success all the time. When I see my own flaws, I get that “pit in your stomach feeling”, the one where you clutch your arm in embarrassment and wonder if anyone is looking at you. I want it to go away in that moment, and never come back. It is easy to take this moment and start it as an excuse to beat yourself up(you don’t do anyone any favors with this approach).
2) Take Notes to Reflect:
  • The better option is to start the note taking process. Learn from the flaws you see, because each one is a chance to get better. Even just self-identifying them, is a step up in the right direction. The good news is, you are getting good enough to see what you can’t do, and now, it’s time to take the next step and improve.
3) Embrace the Cringe.
  • After I get over cringing at what I see, I remind myself that this means I am getting better. In order to join the realms of the professional, you have to learn what to keep your critical eye on. If you don’t, you won’t find the flaws that can make you great. Even worse you risk getting stuck and staying the same.
4) Never Get Complacent:
  • When you are happy, you risk plateauing. The scary thing is, plateauing is that it doesn’t feel bad to do about it. If you are good enough to get past the lay person, well, your mind can throw a party “congratulations, you can stop.”You know some parlor tricks, which gets you some attention. If you don’t want to master the skill, this is as good a place as any to stop, however, if you plan on being a master at anything, this is when you panic. If you aren’t taking a critical eye to your skills, it is a good chance they will start to erode.
  • If I loved my stand up comedy videos, no way would I have taken the time to learn volume control, making expressions, and stage movement. I would still be standing there, telling jokes, being the same comedian I was in 2012.
5) Love the PAIN:
  • Getting better is painful, and it’s going to suck to look at old videos, writings, or any other performance. But in reality it is the best thing for you. By staying the same, and simply enjoying what you have done, you cannot become a professional.

Your flaws aren’t a bad thing, they are a road map to your future success or your voice. Plateauing takes away your critical eye and it leads you to being stuck. For some things, this is fine (I am not aiming to become a professional musician, so I’m satisfied knowing where the keys are and a few tunes) but when you aim for greatness, it is a recipe for disaster. So if you’re scared that you suck, rest assured, you’re on the road to getting better.


I Suck 5


Adam Thomas writing has been seen in the Harvard Business Review and is a graduate of the Emerging Minority Business Leader program. As a comedian he has performed at some of the country’s greatest comedy clubs, including Caroline’s on Broadway (NYC) and the DC Improv (Washington DC).A resident of Harlem NY, he loves to connect on Twitter @TheHonorableAT and writes daily at his blog – Life As Usual – http://blog.theadamthomas.com.


Also – Adam is giving away books – great for any leader here: Hurry –  http://blog.theadamthomas.com/giveaways/the-book-bundle-a-foundation/ Contest ends this week!