Why Sucking at Something Makes You MORE Attractive

Today, I talk to my wonderful friend (and one of my all-time mentors) Karen Rinaldi, who has written a book all about how attractive it can be to suck at something – and she even shows how you can learn to love it when you fail.

It’s changed my life. I know it will change yours too.

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And the arms go up as we prepare for Eagle and then we swoop in and there it is. I can see why they call it the Eagle, very majestic. That tucks and that leg comes all the way around that leg which is, that’s pretty close. And, full Eagle. Oh God. And into resting blog pose.

Now you may be wondering why I would do yoga if I suck at it so bad. Well recently I had an epiphany courtesy of my dear friend and the publisher of the New York Times best-selling book Get the Guy, Karen Rinaldi. Karen recently wrote a book called It’s Great to Suck at Something, and I have been itching to interview her on this subject because I think it’s fascinating in a world where people are increasingly unwilling to make themselves vulnerable and make mistakes. A world where we curate our public image constantly. We always want to be seen to be doing things well, to be living life at the highest level. We so rarely allow ourselves the freedom to actually suck at something.

When I interviewed Karen we talked specifically about how the concept of sucking at something applies to your love life and your dating life. Check it out. The audio isn’t as good as it normally is from us, because we screwed up on the audio on this one. But I think that’s pretty fitting on a video that talks about sucking at things. Check it out and I’ll see you at the end of the clip.

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Matthew: “The stereotype is that if you do something well, that’s hot, right?”

Karen Rinaldi: “Yes.”

Matthew: “But there is something very, very attractive about someone who has complete abandon, and can suck at something. Can do something they’re not good at, but without that self-consciousness.”

Karen Rinaldi: “Right.”

Matthew: “What do you think is attractive about that?”

Karen Rinaldi: “Leaving your ego at the door is really sexy. Just think about people who just, you know, when you watch them in a moment of abandon, right? And it could be a moment only. You ever watch your…oh it could anybody. It could be your kid, it could you parent, it could be your friend, it could be a lover, right? And you see them across the room and they don’t know that you’re watching them, right? And they’re just kind of going on and goofing off, and they’re being like silly or something and you catch this moment. That is so much sexier than when they’re all dolled up and all kind of like ready to go, ‘Hey baby,’ you know? And you’re going, ‘Ah.’ No, it’s that moment of abandon and that letting go of the self-consciousness and ego. It’s so sexy, I mean, I feel like we’re forgetting that. I think we’re just not paying attention to those moments enough. And that’s a shame, because that’s really what, you know, again that’s where all the good stuff is hiding, right?”

Matthew: “Yes.”

Karen Rinaldi: “So, a greatest first date in the world, in a way, not the greatest but one of the great first dates or early dates, would be go do something that neither one of you can do.”

Matthew: “Yeah.”

Karen Rinaldi: “If you can’t ice skate you should go ice skating together. You’re both going to fall, you’re going to feel like idiots, and you’re going to laugh and you’re going to get straight down to your vulnerability.”

Matthew: “It’s authentic.”

Karen Rinaldi: “And you’re not going to be able to hide from that. That would be a good date.”

Matthew: “I like it.”

Karen Rinaldi: “You know?”

Matthew: “I like it.”

Karen Rinaldi: “It’s like that kind of brings you down to earth. I always think that the word for ‘humility’ and ‘humiliation’ have the same root. So, humility is awesome, humiliation is one of the most painful things in the world. They actually have opposite balances and they come from the same thing. Which is about, you know, from ‘humus,’ which is the earth. So, it’s like being brought down to earth. So, isn’t it interesting that we take this word and we kind of go in opposite directions, which is humility makes us more grounded and more self aware. And humiliation is our fear. One is grounded-ness and one is being afraid of…I don’t know even know what the interpretation…of being like on the ground.

Matthew: “You know that makes me think that the difference–they have the same etymology–the difference between them is meaning, right?”

Karen Rinaldi: “Yes.”

Matthew: “And both humiliation and humility–”

Karen Rinaldi: “Mm-hmm” [affirmative].

Matthew: “They’re both going to bring you down to earth, but depending on which one, you’re going to decide the landing. Right?”

Karen Rinaldi: “Beautifully said. That is beautifully said, exactly.”

Matthew: “You’re going to come crashing down, or you’re going to land in a way that you enjoy.”

Karen Rinaldi: “Yes.”

Matthew: “And humility is just the acceptance, you can’t be humiliated if you accept–”

Karen Rinaldi: “Your humility.”

Matthew: “You accept where you are, who you are.”

Karen Rinaldi: “I was going to say they’re over here, but they’re actually this close.”

Matthew: “Yeah.”

Karen Rinaldi: “So it’s really your framing and your value on it.”

Matthew: “Yeah.”

Karen Rinaldi: “So it’s up to us, right?”

Matthew: “It comes down either way, you choose the landing.”

Karen Rinaldi: “You choose the landing. And it could further your experience and it can stop you. Your choice.”

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Karen is one of those people that whenever I happen to be in New York she is one of my first people to call to go and have lunch with, because I always want to absorb what’s in her mind. And the funny thing is she’s been talking about this book for years. I’ve literally been talking to her about the “suck at something” concept for a long time. And it’s only just come out. That’s why I’m so excited about it because I have been waiting for her to release this work. I have read through this book cover to cover now and it has actually inspired me to do things I wasn’t doing before. I am now doing yoga despite sucking at it, in fact, because I suck at it.

What are you going to suck at? Leave us a comment. What’s something that you’re going to do, not even necessarily to get better at it but just because you want the joy of doing it. Because I believe on so many levels there are psychological benefits to doing something that you’re not good at. To going through that process to being humbled by it, and I also think in the context of what we talk about a lot on this channel, it will make us all more attractive, more relatable, and more enjoyable people to be around.

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66 Replies to “Why Sucking at Something Makes You MORE Attractive”

  1. Hi Matt thank you for you inspiring work.. I fit this video so well. I finally rejoined the ymca after years of absence. I was on a treadmill as walking my phone in hand, I dropped it . As I watched it go between my legs. I ended up at the end turned fell in the floor. People around me laughing asking me if I’m ok. I said I was worried about my phone. And then said thats yalls comedy for today. Got up and got back on the treadmill.I ddint let it hinder my workout.

  2. Thank you for this video! I absolutely suck at dancing but it is the one thing I want to do so badly. When I go out with my friends, I beat myself up everytime and wish so badly that I could just get up on the dance floor and and thoroughly enjoy myself dancing but my inhibions are just too strong.
    My friend and I were just talking about this a few weeks ago while out. There was a lady who was up dancing, not a care in the world, and I commented how envious I was of her; to be able to just let herself enjoy without a care for what others may think.
    Maybe I need to read this book and finally let my inhibitons go and allow myself to openly suck at something…and enjoy life!

  3. You’re pretty good with the eagle. Why not demonstrate something you actually suck at! ;). This is great because I tried to do a Ted style talk this past week and failed miserably. I did learn a lot from it and had many blank faces staring back at me. You clearly don’t suck at that so I’m learning!

  4. I suck at living life sober. I get paralyzed by my fears which turns into extraordinary anxiety. So, then I drink alcohol yet again. I would love to get to the point of not allowing my fears to hold me back from living the best life possible.

  5. About 6 years ago my ex husband bought a motorcycle. Neither of us knew how to ride. He had some small experience, and as he began to learn I decided it was something I wanted to try. I am a small person, short, petite and usually scared to take risks. When I got on that bike, I felt like my heart was beating out of my chest. I screwed up a few times, dangerously doing a wheely! I brought the bike down from the air and kept going. Now it’s 7 years later and I ride with ease. Though I look back now and wonder what my ex husband thought of that moment.. when I wad screwing it up but just kept going. We both shared that moment and I remember him being proud of what I was doing. Now, we aren’t together and it’s time for me to explore what in my life I could work on, and suck at for a while. With this experience, it gives me hope that even with sucking at something, with practice and time it can become a strength. Maybe that’s where the attraction bit comes in too.

  6. Good thing that I always put subtitles because English is not my native language. Yep, I felt adorable when my tongue got stuck when I talked to my long distance boyfriend for the first time in person.

  7. I love dancing and jiujitsu. I do not have a natural talent for either one, and am regularly embarrassed – but I keep going because I enjoy them so much – I almost always leave class with a smile. :) I’m not good at dating either, but I’m not giving up!

  8. I have no sense of orientation. North and South don’t mean anything to me, or miles, or kilometers. People laugh at it. I laugh too.

  9. Matthew, this is so timely for where I am at today! I just had a similar conversation with a friend the other day about how I want to free myself up to run toward the things that I’m afraid of and to be able to sincerely laugh at myself more. There are so many things I’ve never tried because I have been afraid to make a fool out of myself! And I just started seeing a man who is so excited about life and great at not taking himself seriously. I love the point of how I can choose my landing… I am going to get out of my own way and do this! Thank you Matthew. Amazing content as usual!

  10. Thanks for this…really great food for thought…

    I suck at a lot of stuff, and in my older age, I really buy into relationships, humanity and humility…esp. the landing choices…A few yesrs ago, I would have been a lot more arrogant in relationships, and it lead to a lot of loss. Now I just realise, that Life is all about Love and relationships…and running away from what we suck at, isn’t really a choice…

  11. Stand Up Paddle Boarding, love the outdoors ocean and sunshine, but feel awkward trying to stand and stay up !! LOL

  12. Instead of going to the parkour trying to correct your eyebrows ,Suck at self styling them.

  13. OMG! I’m so grateful that you are presenting this idea. I just tried something that I suck at, at the urging of my crush (blush) and it turned out great. I accomplished something that I previously thought was impossible for me and he was happy to know that I did at his urging. I know this brought us a closer because I trusted him and that made us both feel good but until I actually watched this video I wasn’t quite clear what exactly happened.
    Thanks for doing what you do.

  14. Interestingly, despite needing and wanting to increase my competence in the dating world, hence being a member here, I am actually not afraid of sucking at dating. Because to me I feel that the attempts to try it without having perfected it will bring me closer to success or at least something very fulfilling that I never considered before.

  15. I’m really athletic so I can pick up most sports easily but when it comes to anything artistic I’m like um….help please? I’ve definitely noticed that I get upset when my paint nite painting isn’t as good as I would liked but you’re right, we’re not perfect and we should embrace the things we’re not good at! next paintnite I’ll go into it with a new perspective.

  16. I love this… I ust love this.. it is amazing how simple you both put in words something that is so emotional. I had experiences where I was sucking at somthing in public and were the most fun for me (and for everyone there LOL). In fact, I think when I suck at things it was too sexy that those particulars moments I feel now “I was really ME”, the more authentic part. One of the times I was dancing for the first time in a Salsa class, and I am suck dancing salsa… so it was a turn to dance with a man youngest than me (everyone in the class were complete strangeers for me). The trainer guide us to particular salsa movements and every single time we both tried our best, but we end doing the opposite movement, opossite directions, etc… and it was so fun that we could’t stop lughing.. at the end of that round the trainer said “Everyone did it right less two people (and he looked at both us in a funny face), and it was too much fun for a single salsa class… I never met that man once again, but I am sure he would remember that. It was so sexy that even when I did not feel atrattion toward him in the begining, I was more connected to him: This sucking at salsa pulled out real conection and real interest. I am thinking to have more of this!!! just for fun…

  17. Funny, I am doing yoga because I suck at it. I heard someone say that pushing through the resistance in yoga is like pushing through the resistance in Life. My ‘resistance’ in Life is dating. I resist being taken advantage of, criticized, controlled and abused. So I am not ‘getting’ all those things now, but I am not getting Love, either. I just wrote today, in my journal, “My parents were NOT able to Love me, emotionally connect with me, listen to me and validate me when I did something right. Now I Don’t think ‘that’ is going to happen, to me, anymore. I just changed my future because I am not projecting my past onto it, anymore.

  18. I actually really suck at dating, no matter how much I try. Lol!

    For the longest time though, I sucked at ballroom dancing, but I loved it! After a while I was able to improve my skills. Now it’s becoming my new hobby!

  19. I’ve always quit stuff because I hate not being good at it. I have friends who sing so I won’t do karaoke with them. I am as uncoordinated as you could be so yoga and athletics…nope quit those. I accidentally entered an art contest as a teenager, won, and still quit all my projects that don’t turn out right away.

    I’m going to dance and do yoga and go buy a sketch book. Today! I’m done fearing that I’ll look silly.

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