Personal Strengths and Weaknesses: Your Seven Deadly Sins (In This Case, Six) and How to Stop Being Such a Shitty Person (Part 1)

Filippino lippi e masaccio, san pietro in cattedra, cappella brancacci

[This is somewhat of a disclaimer. We thought this article would be a good way to kill two birds with one stone: firstly, to provide you with some beautifully crafted and well-tailored information on how to identify and/or overcome personal strengths and weaknesses. Secondly, this gives us the opportunity to introduce ourselves via a Q&A on how we personally relate to the situations and how we addressed (or still are addressing) the problem.]

“So, what are your personal strengths and weaknesses?”

We are all too familiar with this age-old interview question.

The reason why this question continues to haunt our lives is because it reveals a great deal about your own character.

It also highlights your level of self-awareness, and what you bring to the table — both personally and professionally.

On top of this, the bigger question that we’re asking ourselves is, “How do we stop being such shitty people?”

The individual who has identified their own character strengths and flaws has already established in others’ minds that they are someone of a higher caliber.

To be self-aware often means that you are working towards self-improvement.

On the other hand, the person who is not self-aware will display this fact in tell-tale signs.

How, you might ask?

They appear uncentered within themselves, unfocused in their direction in life, and uncertain in their interactions with others.

Because of this, it’s critical to your success that you identify and make the most of your own personal strengths and weaknesses. The goal being to maximize their benefit to you and your character.

Unless you’re self-development junkies like we are, the self-evaluation process is not particularly exciting and it certainly isn’t fun.

But, if we aren’t able to turn our eye inwards to consistently and realistically evaluate ourselves, we are guaranteed to be on the fast track to stagnation.

By identifying elements of character specific to all of mankind, we are able to better examine and improve upon any personal weaknesses and shortcomings within ourselves.

Think of this as taking a “macro” view of all the world’s people, and applying it to the “micro” — that’s you!

How to Identify Our Personal Strengths and Weaknesses

The identification of personal strengths and weaknesses are both very actionable undertakings.

However, we are left with a much better sense of self and personal worth by overcoming the lagging aspects of our character.

Much like the fabled alchemist, we can transmute the lesser parts of ourselves into their finer counterparts.

And if all else fails, then we can turn them into gold!

As a useful exercise, we have found it instructive to use the good ol’ Seven Deadly Sins as a starting place for evaluating our own character.

After all, if you’re in the clear in regards to these seven things, you’re already on your way to avoiding a fiery eternity and you probably aren’t an entirely terrible person.

You’re welcome for giving you the benefit of the doubt.

Pride

First and foremost, if we find ourselves being prideful, we will believe ourselves to be beyond reproach or improvement.

We will embody a corrupting selfishness, and believe ourselves to be essentially better and more important than others.

We move through the world as if we are inherently above others, when this is never really the case, no matter how much you may have accomplished or personally grown.

Our highest self, however, knows this not to be true, and that we are all playing on a level field.

Pride is truly a disguised insecurity.

It obscures us from the fact that we really do have much to improve upon and we are not as infallible as we may believe. We use our pride as a security blanket, to cover up and provide comfort to our most personal and sensitive weak points.

As prideful individuals, oftentimes we have a very difficult time receiving any kind of criticism.

This is due to the fact that the carefully crafted visage of ourselves has been shattered by another’s ability to see through our own deceptions.

We have all experienced this at least once in our lives, and if this is something you continue to experience, it’s time to get your pride in check.

Other signs of pridefulness run rampant are being easily offended, having a lack of substance or character, and an inability to accept personal humility. All of these and more stem from perpetual laziness and lack of motivation.

Queue the interview.

Bryce: “I’ve known you since third grade. And since then…take this as you will, but, I’ve realized you’re kind of a prideful asshole. What do you have to say about that?”
Adam: “That’s funny — I thought we met each other in fourth grade. And needless to say, I appreciate the compliment. There’s no other way I’d rather be introduced to our budding community than this.”
B: “Well, I’ve noticed that because you’ve spent so much of your time in life working to better yourself physically, mentally, etc., you tend to think you stand a cut above others. This comes out as talking about others as “shysters” and various other unmentionable adjectives. Thoughts?”
A: “I’ve always viewed the ‘assery’ as somewhat of a comedic relief to a more serious personality. You’ll never hear me deny the fact that I’m not as forgiving as I could be, and there was certainly a time when my pride and arrogance ruled over my personality. And if I’m not careful, sometimes it does to this day.”
B: “And naturally, there are some poor characters in the world, but does that really mean you should talk down on them?”
A: “I think that depends on who you ask. Am I going to stand up on stage and riff on people for their shortcomings? Absolutely not, that’s not my job. However, at another time in my life, I would have answered very differently. But point taken.

It’s been a long road with many ups and downs, and there have been more times than I can count when I’ve let my pride get the best of me, and I’ve paid the price for that every time. More often than not, at the cost of my own embarrassment.

Those are the experiences you learn the most from, and the most quickly from. Having to hang your head in shame gets you to clean up your act real quick. That isn’t to say that it isn’t still occasionally a problem.

However, nowadays the bulk of that pride and frustration with others has been transmuted into an inward drive, work ethic, and desire to seek and overcome challenge. I no longer want to be better than others — I want to be better than myself.”

The Contrast

In cases where we’re experiencing excessive pride, we are in need of the contrasting strength of temperance.

Temperance gives us the ability to forgive, to practice humility and prudence, and to enact necessary regulation of ourselves.

Temperance is an internally learned and developed process, and only becomes actualized at your behest.

It’s one thing to read that last sentence but another thing to completely understand it.

The point we’re trying to drive home is that temperance is not only a lifelong journey, but one you have to choose to take every minute of every day.

To convey how difficult this is, think about temperance the next time you see someone do something incredibly stupid during rush-hour traffic. Instead of yelling at the top of your lungs at this individual, stop and try practicing some temperance instead.

That’s right. It isn’t as easy as you thought!

Anger/Impatience

Following pride is anger and impatience. We think it’s very easy to see how these two go together.

Here, we discover an investment in carrying out vengeance and hate for our own gain. Often in a way that ends up being subversive to our own goals and purpose.

The path of anger and impatience forces us to become a slave to ourselves.

The Contrast

For this particular example, Bryce has a personal anecdote.


One time, I was up visiting Adam and he cued me on to something. He had overheard a conversation between myself and my mother, and during that conversation I was particularly impatient, when all she was trying to do was something nice for me. He made mention that he didn’t think I was being very polite or patient with her, and that out of all people, my mother was the person I should be nicest to. It was one of those situations where you can’t see the forest through the trees.
After I was given some examples of what I was doing in my interactions with my mom, I quickly came to realize that he was very right. After a conversation on the subject, I came to the conclusion that I had to take all of my circumstances in stride as I came across them. Much to the benefit of the relationship between my mother and I (not that it was bad before), by viewing each interaction as a single instance as opposed to one large, continuous instance, I found that I was better able to cherish the time I got to spend with her.

Being able to move beyond our anger and impatience is a long and arduous task (you’ll find that to be a re-occurring theme in this article), however, we are able to remedy these consuming emotions through the pursuit of justice.

Through the optimization of justice we are able to revel in every aspect of teamwork and cooperation, in fairness, and patiently lead by example. Did you catch that?

One more time on the off chance that you missed it: patiently leading by example. We’re here to help you become the best you can be, and the best excel at leading by example.

— Part 2 will be posted next week, stay tuned! —

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