Your Biggest Weakness Might Be Your Biggest Strength (In Disguise)
Back in high school, my biggest weakness was to raise my hand.
I knew the teacher would pick me, eventually.
I knew I would start stuttering uncontrollably.
I knew I would fail.
It was carved in stone.
[NOTE: I never raised my hand volunteeringly in class, up to that point. Was always picked because I didn’t participate in class and they had to give me a grade. I didn’t want to be too cool for school. In fact, most of the time I knew the answer but was afraid to speak in front of others. In retrospect: As a male, this is double-time, triple-time, quadruple-time unattractive. But then I remembered my German teacher Mr. Lakenbrink talking to my parents a few weeks prior to his death (he died when I was around 12 years young in 6th grade in Münster, 2005) and telling them I had to overcome this weakness. Otherwise, he didn’t know what would happen. He was a wise man. Thank you!]
Back to me being picked by whatever teacher (until it all changed in 9th grade in mid-2008):
My fingers got sweaty — whether I forced myself to raise ’em or teachers picked me regardless — I could hardly breathe, couldn’t catch a thought…
Now that I go back in time, these are painful memories.
Memories that shaped the man I am today. Why?
(I had little to no real friends, was still a virgin… all things aside…)
Because I not only overcame these “weaknesses”, and came out the other side as a stronger version of myself (humble brag)… I realized this one simple life truth:
Your biggest weakness is your biggest strength in disguise.
There can’t be a downside without an upside.
There can’t be pleasure without pain.
There can’t be pain without pleasure (eventually, hopefully).
And there can’t be strengths without weaknesses — and vice versa.
To be exact, every strength has a downside and every weakness has an upside.
Being quiet and reserved isn’t seen as a strength in our society.
It goes without explanation.
In many professions — especially, in our fast-paced working world — we need people who are quick on their feet, can make decisions (without second-guessing themselves), and can keep believing in their own BS, no matter what. I admire them.
I am not decisive.
I am not spontaneous and I hate improvising.
(Don’t invite me for “Truth Or Dare.” Ever.)
And I am not someone who likes to pretend to be someone I’m not.
Work on yourself.
Force yourself to overcome your key weaknesses; while simultaneously mastering skills that build on your natural strength.
For me (introvert), that’s:
- Write well
- Say what you want to say and, then, shut up (aka, “assertive communication”)
- Listen more, talk less
- Stop pleasing others, unless they deserve “it”
- Realize that everyone needs to “recharge” but for me that’s being alone. After a long day around many people, I don’t need “extra” attention
While the first point has been my primary focus since mid-2014 (after turning my social life around and beginning to realize other people may need help in this area), I still need to address other areas in my life.
Don’t want to drag this article longer than needed.
I suggest you follow the 80/20 principle.
That’s what I’d do anyway (subconsciously).
Maybe it helps you, too.
Instead of going all over the place…
…When it comes to personal development…
…Spend 20% on working on my weaknesses…
…And 80% on my strength.
This way you stay sane and true to yourself.
Why else have you been put on this planet in these difficult times?
It’s a realization I got writing this article.
Nothing more, nothing less.
You are in charge of your own life — live it.