What does ‘Embrace the Suck’ Really Mean? Practical Lessons Learned From the Military Mentality

Devin Arrigo


Photo by Arthur Edelman on Unsplash

“Oh, sh*t, today is going to be a rough one.”

As I took the first couple of steps of a 1.5-hour run, I could instinctively tell that this run was going to suck. It was blistering hot. My muscles were sore. My legs felt sluggish. And I knew that I was going to have to push through some serious pain to finish this run.

Sound familiar?

Overcoming adversity is something runners have become accustomed to. Whether it’s running before sunrise, pushing through the ‘wall’ at mile 23, or simply combatting the summer heat, pushing through pain is second nature.

Runners have learned to accept pain. We know it’s coming — we just don’t know when. And when the inevitable does happen, we simply utter a few nasty words and push on through. We’re trained and battle-tested.

That said, instead of simply accepting the pain, we need to start embracing it.

There’s an old military saying that reads:

“Embrace the suck” — to consciously accept or appreciate something that is extremely unpleasant but unavoidable in order to move forward.

The ‘suck’ — the wall at mile 23, the summer heat, the painful leg cramp — is just one more hurdle we need to jump over. It’s a chance to prove to ourselves that we’re improving. That we’re getting better, faster, and stronger.

The ‘suck’ is an opportunity to improve. To grow. And to evolve.

Sure, the pain is going to suck. That’s a given. But we’re going to face pain whether we like it or not. Why not adopt an attitude that will actually benefit us in the long run?

So be grateful when things suck. Take solace in knowing that the pain you’re feeling isn’t for nothing. The ‘suck’, when endured, is a chance to grow. To become better. To evolve.

And when you do breakthrough that ‘suck’, you’re going to feel accomplished and battle-tested.

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Marathon runner | Triathlete | Personal growth addict | Writing about creative ways to become a better human being. devin.arrigo1@gmail.com

Los Angeles, CA

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