Which of the following do you think will lead to success and growth?
A. Improve your weakness
B. Build on your strengths
Most of the people think they need to improve or completely eleminate their weakness. They think that’s the ultimate formula for success or greatness.
They spend so much time working on their weakness, but they just manage to get a little better at it.
Oh you don’t need to bother about that.. since you’re already good at it, why worry?
Let me tell you a story –
Meet Sunita. She is the protagonist of our story. She has just started going to 5th grade. Lemme tell you something about Sunita – she is great with numbers. She likes maths a lot.
During the first few weeks of school she realises she hates science and doesn’t want continue her classes.
She decides to talk about this with her parents.
“Dad I don’t want to take Science lessons anymore. I don’t like it and neither am I good at it. My grades are dropping continuously”
“We’ll get you a science tutor sweety. Don’t worry. You’ll do just fine.”
“But dad I don’t want to do just fine… Can I take maths classes instead? I bet those will be more fun. Plus I like to study maths so my grades will improve too.”
“You can’t do that dear. It’s just not possible and not right. Science is your weakness but it’s really important to study, so work on that. You’re already good at maths so why bother about it?
You need to take extra classes for Science”
And thus she starts taking Science classes, eventually her interest in maths declines and studies overall seem to be a burden.
She ends up improving in science and becomes a average student.
How do you feel for Sunita?
Maybe she should’ve taken extra classes to improve her math skills.
Oh wait! Then what about science?
I’ve a solution for ya –
Maybe she should have taken both the classes. Maths because she likes it and can get much better at it. This would be encouraging her natural talents.
She needs to take Science class because let’s face it. You have to do everything when you’re in school. Besides her dad is right. It is important to know science too. You can’t be completely ignorant about your weakness.
But working on weakness should definitely not be your only goal.
Think about it.
What will happen if all you did in your life was work to improve your weakness, we’d end up being mediocre, not just about our weakness but overall.
And no one wants to be mediocre these days.
Everyone thinks they’re destined for greatness.
I don’t want to question that.
Coming back to the point –
Yes it is important to address our weakness but only when it gets in your way of success or leads to any harm or stops you from practicing your strengths.
For eg – if a manager of a company is result driven and motivated, it’s good. He knows all the techniques and is good at doing his job. There’s just one problem. His weakness – when someone tells him about some issue he freaks out and scolds the employees for not taking enough care. The employees don’t like him and he doesn’t get promoted.
Here definitely he needs to work on his weakness.
The point is not that you should always forgo this kind of weakness fixing. The point is that you should see weakness for what it is – damage control, not development. Damage control can prevent failure but it will never elevate you to excellence.
– Clifton and Buckingham
Building strengths is important.
It’s like you have your hands that can make beautiful things but because everyone around you uses them to break things, so you choose to do the same.
Okay bad analogy.
But I hope you get the point.
You don’t build self esteem by patting people on the back and telling them that they are wonderful. Confidence is a much more complex phenomenon that comes from experiencing one’s strengths in action.
– Rosabeth Moss Kanter
So yes, you also gain self confidence from exercising your strengths. And this self confidence is not limited to the specific area where you’re good at, it can be carried to other domains in your life as well.
Lastly I will tell you what psychologist Albert Bandura says about mastery experiences –
Mastery experiences are events in which we perform effectively or become noticeably better at something and experience success. These mastery experiences lead to increase in self confidence and in turn leads to better performance and likelihood of future mastery experience. It’s a virtuous cycle.
– Albert Bandura
So I hope by now you must’ve changed your answer.
And now I hope you will work on finding your strengths and dedicate time to get better at it.
If you are working try to think about how can you use your strengths at your workplace
Even if you can’t, just dedicate some time to getting better at that daily.
Hope that will make you feel better and more confident overall 🙂
Thank you for time and support! I’m so grateful that you give me wonderful feedback so that I always feel like writing (getting better at my strength) haha..