“There are better starters than me, but I’m a strong finisher.” – Usain Bolt
I’ve had the pleasure of working with and training many people from all walks of life and industries, and many have one thing in common: a poor sense of their talents and strengths.
Throughout our education, careers, and lives, there is always a significant focus on our weaknesses. Teachers, parents, managers, and mentors consider it their responsibility to highlight our flaws and try hard to correct them.
Most people do not know their strengths or are not as aware of their strengths as they could be, possibly because they take them for granted. Try asking someone, and you’ll see what I mean. They’ll probably give you a blank stare or respond to you in terms of their subject knowledge, not in terms of listing fundamental essential qualities. Ask for their weaknesses, and boy, will you get a clear and long list!
We have become experts in our faults and spend a considerable part of our lives trying to repair our flaws, while our good points lie stagnant and neglected. This negative approach to your self-development is insane. We will all show massive and positive growth if we focus on our abilities instead of only focusing on correcting our deficits.
Most of us don’t concern ourselves with identifying our talents and strengths; instead, we study our shortcomings. We live in a weakness-focused world.
To remedy this, start by noticing how little time you spend on developing or applying your strengths. How can you heighten the awareness of where you shine from day to day and what you do well? Each day we must cultivate and focus on our inherent talents and not let these gifts languish.
The brain is primed to magnify negative messages and minimise positive ones.
Therefore, in our minds, criticism and weaknesses are blown out of proportion and should be managed with great care.
We are better served by focusing our energy and attention on positive activities and pursuits that give us power and satisfaction.
When you sharpen your awareness of your strengths and talents, you increase your chances for more significant and lasting success.
I am not saying you should ignore the things in which you are weak or lack talent, but stop spending most of your time trying to work around your weakness. When training, or a support system, or a complementary partnership doesn’t work for you, try finding an alternative role for yourself.
Everyone is excellent at something. Keep searching until you find a suitable space for what you do best or the area in which you have a natural ability.
Magnify the areas where you shine and continuously ask yourself the questions ‘How can I apply more of my best? Is this the best effort I can make?’ Likewise, if you notice and reinforce the best qualities in others.
Instead of focusing on their weaknesses, you will be amazed at the enthusiasm they will show to partner or complement you.
When you do the work or things you are best at, the magic simply flows.
“Success is achieved by developing our strengths, not by eliminating our weaknesses.” – Marilyn Vos Savant