Working Intentionally
Emotions and Your Career

Decrease the Suck or Increase the Awesome?

Thanks to Hildy Gottleib over at Creating the Future, I found Hank Green's video on the Webb Telescope. Not that I care terribly much about the Webb Telescope. But I do care about the first minute of Hank's video, which you should watch first if you haven't seen it before.

Here's what Hank says: 

“There are two ways to make the world a better place. You can decrease the suck, and you can increase the awesome… And I do not want to live in a world where we only focus on suck and never think about awesome.”

I do not want to live in this world either. Every day I spend focused on fixing the suck is a day I end up wanting back. Rarely do I look around at the end of that time and think, "Damn. I'm glad I spent my day fixing the suck." Mostly I just want to curl up with a glass of wine and mindless TV, possibly take a bath to cleanse myself of the stench of the suck. 

Unfortunately, for many of us, our jobs are nothing but endless cycles of fixing the suck. This may explain a lot about why we are so depressed and dispirited by our work. All we are doing is thinking about what sucks, why it sucks, who's responsible for how much it sucks, how it's never going to stop sucking, how all we are talking about is how much things suck, etc.

Frankly, it sucks. 

And here's the thing. I'm not even sure that we are truly able to decrease the suck by focusing on that.  The suck is like quicksand or a black hole. It just pulls you in and drains from your mind all memories or ideas of the awesome. When you are thinking about the suck, the awesome no longer exists. You end up spending your time moving between less and more sucky.

I actually believe that the only way to decrease the suck is by increasing the awesome. 

The awesome is inspiring. It shows you what can happen, rather than what can't. The more you work for the awesome, the better you feel. AND the better your work becomes. Striving for the awesome is building something. It's creation. 

I spend a lot of time working with people who are feeling stuck or want something different for their careers. Often their unhappiness can be traced back to exactly how much time they are spending with the suck. Their goal is to find the awesome again. 

So here's a simple career tip I'm trying to live by--if you want to change the world and feel better about what you're doing, increase the awesome. 


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Michele, great post i agree entirely, the video was very cute as well as stimulating. I particularly like your comments about Suck being like quicksand or a black hole.

I find when speaking to people about their focus on "busy-ness" (suck) they are so far down the black hole that they are usually unable to see that awesome even exists anymore, let alone the how of getting back to doing awesome.

Thanks, a new objective for me this year is to help others see, connect and create awesome :)

Thanks, Michelle! Great point about "busy-ness"! I've noticed that too and am often frustrated that we then spend the rest of the conversation only talking about how they're too busy for anything approaching the awesome.

I lov the idea of having a career goal of helping others to see, connect to and create the awesome. I may borrow that. . . :-)

Awesome post. Have you read "Switch" by Chip and Dan Heath? Similar points in there in terms of "finding the bright spots." We wrote about it (and linked back to your post) in our blog today:

Thanks, Smallact and thanks for the reminder on Switch. I've been meaning to read it so your comment spurred me to get it on my Kindle. Looking for the bright spots is definitely part of finding the Awesome. :-)

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