What to say to someone who think they aren't good at something

Whenever we are learning a new skill most people are probably not the best or clearly suck at it. There is going to be a learning curve for any new project that you take on and you could call this the sucky phase.

When you learned to walk you probably fell down a couple of times, hurt your knee but you just got up and kept trying. When you’re a kid you think other people can walk, I can too!  You didn’t withdraw into yourself and think that you are the world’s biggest loser because walking didn’t come to you straight away.

When you practice any skill you naturally get better and better at something. People who pick things up quickly usually enjoy what they are doing, get feedback or a coach to improve their performance


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Once you have done something for a while, you look back at your earlier work and can be shocked at how far you have come. What you thought was once your best artwork you may now consider cringey.

Sometimes people just need a little encouragement to push through the hard part when they think they suck at something. The only time someone is a loser is when they quit before the challenge has even begun.

Here are a few kind things you can say to encourage the newbie to keep going.

10 Best replies when someone says they suck at something

1. Do not give up.The beginning is always the hardest.

2. Don’t compare someone else’s middle to your beginning.

3. Allow yourself to be the beginner. No one starts off excellent.

4. Muhammad Ali wasn’t great great when he started. He got there by doing the daily reps and becoming great.

5. It’s normal to feel that way, but remember that progress takes time and effort.

6. Is there anything that I can do to support you in developing your skills in this area?

7. Stop being so hard on yourself – we all have strengths and areas for growth.

8. The truth is everyone has to start somewhere, and with practice, you’ll improve.

9. You may not feel confident now, but I can see your potential.

10. It’s alright to feel that way, but remember that everyone has their own learning curve.

More comebacks you might like

Ten famous people who sucked when they started

Before you can be great you have to suck, and this proves true for many of the most successful people in history.

1. Vincent van Gogh – The world famous painter only sold only one painting during his lifetime.

2. Michael Jordan – Initially cut from his high school basketball team but he just kept practicing every day and put in the reps until he became great.

3. Oprah Winfrey – Ways famously fired from her first television job, which gave her time to find her calling.

4. Steven Spielberg – Rejected from film school multiple times. I bet the schools regret rejecting him now.

5. Walt Disney – Fired from a newspaper for lacking creativity. Wouldn’t it be embarrassing to be the person who fired Walt Disney!

6. Albert Einstein – Struggled with speech as a child, and didn’t speak until he was five!

7. Stephen King – Like most authors, he received numerous rejections for his early novels.

8. J.K. Rowling – Faced rejection from numerous publishers before finding success with Harry Potter and becoming a billionaire.

9. Thomas Edison – Made thousands of unsuccessful attempts before inventing the light bulb. He kept going a said he had succeed because he already found a 1,000 ways that didn’t work.

10. The Beatles – Rejected by several record labels before achieving success, the Beatles kept going and put in their 10,000 hours of practice while playing in Germany.

 Jo sucked when she started to play tennis but after practice started winning championships.

Jo had a deep passion for tennis and when she first picked up a racket, she struggled to hit the ball and often felt discouraged by her lack of skill. Despite her initial struggles, Jo refused to give up. She dedicated herself to practicing every day, determined to improve her game and prove herself on the court.

As time passed, Jo’s hard work began to pay off. She honed her techniques, built her strength, and developed a strategic mindset. With each match, she grew more confident and focused on her goals.

Her perseverance and dedication led her to compete in local tournaments, where she surprised everyone by showcasing remarkable improvement. To her own amazement, Jo started winning matches and, eventually, championships.

Through her unwavering commitment and resilience, Jo transformed from a novice player who struggled to hit the ball into a formidable tennis champion. Her journey served as an inspiring reminder that with dedication and perseverance, anyone can overcome their initial shortcomings and achieve greatness.

The Role of counselling and self care

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When you are dealing with a person who says that they suck at something and you find it stressful, consider getting support from a professional. Talking to a counselor is a great way to work through a challenging situation, and help you find some strategies to work through the person’s behaviour.

Got any comments, questions or tips for someone who says they suck at something? Share them in the comments below.

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