Embrace the cringe.
If I had a 3 word mission statement for my life that would be it.
Embrace the cringe.
If you’re eager to embrace the cringe in life - that is you’re willing to embarrass yourself - you’re going to put yourself on an entirely different trajectory than what you’re used to (or at least what most of us are used to).
Think about how we normally operate...
If we had a default mission statement in our lives it would probably be something like DON’T embarrass yourself, DON'T do anything cringy or DON'T do anything stupid.
Our mission is to NOT do anything embarrassing in life.
That's a pretty odd way to live, wouldn't you say?
But let's take a step back and realize that embarrassing yourself means something much different than just messing up and being judged for it.
What is embarrassment?
I’m not talking about being embarrassed because you tripped and fell in line at Starbucks or you didn’t realize you weren't on mute on your Zoom call or you got dressed in the dark and wore two different shoes.
I’m talking about moments where you went for it and it didn’t turn out great.
- I’m talking about where you went in for the kiss and were denied.
- I’m talking about emailing the CEO of that company asking for a job and being told you didn’t have nearly enough experience.
- I’m talking about banging out gym selfies in a crowded gym and people giving you side eye.
- I’m talking about starting that podcast and having people make fun of you for it.
- I’m talking about wearing that louuuud outfit and hearing laughs behind you.
Most of us think embarrassment means we flubbed and we're judged negatively.
We think our actions, words or looks are cringy and as a result our status takes a hit, our social currency crashes and our worth is eroded BUT here's the uplifting truth about embarrassing yourself.
Embarrassment is simply what happens when you try too hard.
Embarrassment is what happens when you say too much, ask for too much, wear too much, push yourself too far, etc.
It’s what happens when you try something before you’re fully ready. It’s what happens when you speak up without having a full thought. It’s what happens when you get too much confidence and it comes out in an awkward way.
But THAT is a great great thing!
Embarrassment doesn't mean lack. It's not some passive way of detracting from who you are.
The reality is... you embarrass yourself when you try too hard.
I’ll take a life of trying too hard any day of the week. I’ll take a life of pushing myself too hard over a life of not pushing myself at all.
Wouldn't you? Wouldn't you rather rather go fast than slow?
Wouldn't you rather rather put yourself out there too much than not at all?
Wouldn't you rather push yourself out of your comfort zone than never leave it?
Embarrassment and cringy moments are simply reflections of a life being lived fully.
Think about how you might embarrass yourself.
- You shoot your shot and get rejected.
- You post that selfie and someone makes fun of you.
- You ask your boss for a raise and they say that’s a ridiculous thing to ask.
- You laugh too loud at that restaurant and they ask you to leave.
- You go to the front of the line at the club and ask to skip but they tell you to get lost.
Nowhere in those equations is lack, sitting back or riding the bench. You tried and didn't get the result you wanted.
BUT you were in the game. You weren't on the sidelines. There is NO lack when that's the case.
THAT is living life on your own terms. Not everyone can say that. Most people would much rather NOT do something and look cool in the process than do something and look cringy.
But we CAN embrace the cringe because there's power in it!
When our minds try to talk us out of doing things with thoughts like "that's so cringy... don't do it!" we can decide to get competitive and say "oh ya? Watch this."
Good things happen when you push yourself too hard.
What you want in life exists on the other side of cringe, embarrassment, rejection and awkwardness.
Embarrassment is a side effect of effort.
- Losing a game is a side effect of becoming a great athlete.
- Not getting a laugh is a side effect of becoming a great comedian.
- Not having a profitable month is a side effect of becoming a great entrepreneur.
You can’t become any of those things without experiencing the side effects. It’s the same with being human - you literally can’t get what you want without some cringe, some embarrassment or some awkwardness.
Embarrassment is a side effect of living a full life. That’s a life where you’re not ashamed or embarrassed to push yourself too hard.