Friday, January 18, 2013

Discouraging Words

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am constantly telling readers what a crap sailor I am. I write about my "delusion" that I can become a better sailor. I joke about not needing to know the course because I can "just follow everybody else like I usually do."  I tell readers that I'm only racing for fun, implying that I don't really care about my results. I use phrases like "typically mediocre" to describe my actual results, and talk about being a "mid-fleet mediocrity." And so on. And so on.

I have spent seven years fine tuning the art of self deprecatory blogging. (Although I'm really not very good at it.)

Possibly some people find my style amusing, but I saw a video today that made me question whether I should be doing this.

The video is on a running blog I found recently, Ann's Running Commentary. There are a lot of great running specific tips on it, but yesterday Ann posted a video that could apply to any sport. In the video she discussed why we should not "beat ourselves up" by discounting our accomplishments.

She tells people she's a runner but she doesn't want anyone to think she is a fast runner.

She tells people she's a biker, but she says she's not like the guys she rides with. They ride hundreds of miles.

And she says she swims, but "it's more like not drowning"

Then she goes on to say that when you "down yourself' like this, when you don't give yourself credit for your real achievements, you take away from yourself all the training and effort that you have put in, and you end up not being the person you really should be, the person you really are.

For the record, Ann is the managing editor of Beyond Limits Magazine and has run numerous marathons, an Ironman and even a 50-miler. Here is her video...

Think about what you say to yourself.

Do you discount your accomplishments?

Do you fail to give yourself credit for your achievements?

And would you still bother to read this blog if I actually stopped doing so much of the self deprecation nonsense?


Joe said...

I'll never stop reading this blog...I read it even though you are a Laser sailor and I'm a Force...oh shit, I'm not anymore. God, I need a drink.

Tillerman said...

What happened Joe? You're not a Force 5 sailor any more? This week I was invited to sail in the Force 5 Midwinters in the Florida Keys and I was hoping to see you there.

O Docker said...

I wish those of you to whom mediocrity comes easily would stop bragging about that so much.

Some of us have to work damned hard to be mediocre and it's discouraging to read about your easy success. Those who cruise around the race course effortlessly in mid-fleet forget that there are tail enders forever struggling to keep you in sight.

And then there are those of us who get lost on the way to the race and never enter at all. To the incompetent, mediocrity is something we can only dream of.

Tillerman said...

Well said O Docker. I want you to know that this blog will always be dedicated to the incompetent, the ones who get lost on the way to the race, the ones who forgot that the race was today, the ones that didn't wake up in time to make the race... You are the 99%. This blog is on your side.

Keep Reaching said...

Mediocre, self-deprecating or whatever - the real question your readers are asking is whether you will reach 43 days.

Anonymous said...

You took my line!

Tillerman said...

Have no fear faithful readers. Even if there is one year in which I don't sail 43 times, I will still write some post like "It's 43 days since my last sail!" or "43 reasons why I haven't sailed much this year!"

meech said...

I wouldn't learn so much about sailing if you weren't so self-deprecating!

Tweezerman said...

I didn't listen to the video but I can tell in this case, she's wrong - at least for the British. From the Wikipedia article on British humor, "A strong theme of sarcasm and self-deprecation, often with deadpan delivery, runs throughout British humour (sic). Emotion is often buried under humour (sic) in a way that seems insensitive to other cultures."

Underlying British self-deprecation is - lets face it - a cover for a well disguised sense of superiority because - dammit - didn't this laconic tribe of Celts, Norse, and Normans conquer the World?, gave the modern world it's framework?; the sun never set on the British flag!, who invented the Industrial Revolution?, what about Nelson, Robert Clive and the East India Co., Shackleton and Rourke's Drift, the Hornblower series, King Arthur, Shakespeare, Beowulf, the amorphous and convoluted English language, George Best, Queen Boadicea, Roger Bannister, Thomas Beckett, Issac Newton, Captain Cook, King Henry and Queen Elizabeth, Drake, Hobbes and Keynes, Frank Whittle, Lawrence of Arabia, Charles Darwin, Venerable Bede, Robin Hood, Captain Bligh, Stonehenge, Verulamium, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, Eddie the Eagle, Glastonbury, Charles Rolls and Sir Henry Royce, Hadrian's Wall.....(my brain grows weary)...and don't forget Uffa Fox, Morgan Giles, Robert Baden-Powell, Robin Knox-Johnson, Donald Crowhurst, Ben Ainslie, Jack Knights, Jack Holt, Ian Proctor, Austin Farrar, Phil Morrison, Reg White, Stewart Morris.........

Or maybe (as sly as they are) is it because the English discovered that self-deprecation is sexy?

Of course the British wrote this article!

O Docker said...


But it took America to give the world Kim Kardashian.

Tillerman said...

Well said Tweezerman. My parents even named me (middle name) after one of the great British heroes on your list and I attended the same high school as one of the others.

Although I must admit I had to look up some of the names towards the end of your list. I never knew who invented the pulpit, that great British sailing innovation, before.

O Docker, who is Ms Kardashian? Is she a Radial sailor?

Anonymous said...

I am the guy in the middle - we won overall trophy for this year.
Our boat is called 3 Stooges and our sail # is 000. I'll send you a picture becauseI can't paste it in here. Don't stop writing.
John in PDX

Ann said...

Self deprecation is okay and yes you are right, it is great fodder for writing. My point is really more about what you say to yourself, or at least what you let yourself believe. Don't worry, with or without the self deprecation I will keep reading your blog.

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