What Puts the “Weak” in Weakness?

By: Jackie Brownell

When I did a google search of the word weakness, the top of the page showed the following definition:

1. the state or condition of lacking strength.

When I scrolled down, some of the titles of articles that stuck out to me were

“List of Strengths and Weaknesses for Job Interviews”
“Weakness: Causes, Symptoms and Diagnosis”
“Trump’s Biggest Weakness” (no, we are not getting political here, PLEASE)
“A 3-Step Plan for Turning Weaknesses into Strengths”

In our class we talked about having weaknesses, and we addressed the question, “do weaknesses make you feel weak?” Something that I brought up was that I believe the answer to that question really depends on the value that you place on that particular skill. For example, I place a tremendous amount of value on organization; however, that is not an area that I would personally consider a strength. I work hard to be organized; I educate myself on ways to become more organized, but ultimately it is still a weakness of mine, and one that makes me feel particularly weak when my lack of the skill causes problems. However, I also am not very good at ice skating. It is a skill that I have attempted and openly failed at, and I have accepted that as a weakness. Being bad at ice skating doesn’t make me feel weak. I know that I have many other strengths and to be honest, ice skating is not important to me.

It’s also not just about the value that you place on the skill, but how the world or other people around you value it. The world values organization, so when I fail to be organized, it could prevent me from getting a job or leave me seen as a disgrace (or at least that’s how I would feel about it). However, the world does not care if I am good at ice skating (at least I really hope they don’t).

What kinds of weaknesses should be accepted as weaknesses, and which should we attempt to improve? When do we give up trying to defeat the weakness, accept it as a weakness, and seek help from others who own that skill as a strength? We are told by the world through mere definition that a weakness is a negative thing. If we have weaknesses, we lack strength. It is a symptom of something negative; it is a problem. We are told that in an interview we should pick a weakness that we can turn into a strength. We are told to put a positive spin on it. Everyone has weaknesses. Why are we all so unwilling to admit that we have them? I think that we are unwilling to admit to weaknesses when we have not yet come to terms with them or decided how to deal with them. The only one who can tell you how to handle your weakness is yourself. Don’t be afraid to not be good at everything.

The world provides us with a 3-step plan to turn your weakness into a strength, but what happens when we fail to do that? Is it really so bad? What would the world be like if we went to interviews and admitted to our flaws and showed people that we are real people with weaknesses and that we are not perfect? I think the world would be full of more real people who are willing to show a little vulnerability. When we focus on our weaknesses they become what defines us. Don’t be afraid to show people who you really are by embracing your weaknesses. Work hard to improve and to be the best you can be, but weaknesses do not have to weigh you down. Use your strengths to push them out of the way. It’s hard sometimes but you can do it!

Thanks for reading!

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