Identify Your Strengths, Talents to Offset Weaknesses, Failings
It doesn't make much sense, but most people know less about their strengths and talents than their weaknesses and failings. People focus on their opportunities for development or improvement by recognising their flaws and inadequacies.
But weaknesses and flaws are much harder to fix, because they are inherent and built into your makeup. Why focus on what is hard to fix? Why not look at what you are inherently good at - your strengths and your natural talents?
Sadly many people are unaware of the positives as they allow the dark clouds of their failings to block out the sunshine beaming on their opportunities to realise their full potential. Friends, parents, teachers and managers are all such experts in spotting deficits. You have heard it all before: "This job shows wonderful creativity and application of your skill, BUT it fails for these ten reasons".
Everyone focuses on the 'If Only's, not on how to develop the seeds of talents, strength and aptitude that you show. Most supervisors consider it their duty to point out flaws and suggest remedial action to correct them.
As a consequence we become slaves and devotees to our flaws and weaknesses leaving our talents and strengths in a drawer somewhere neglected and undeveloped.
This article discusses these issues and aims to change things around so that you focus more on your strengths and talents, which is a better way to grow and develop.
Why are Weaknesses so Attractive and Dominant?
A recent poll of people throughout the world asked them whether knowing their strength or weaknesses would help improve them the most. The most frequent answer was weakness, not strength
- Only about 40 % of Americans voted for 'strengths'
- Only about 24% of people in Japan and China voted for 'strengths as the key to success.
- People older than 55 years were more focused on their strengths than younger people. perhaps through more self-acceptance.
Why Do People Hide Their Strengths Under a Bushel?
The attraction for our weaknesses lies derives from a deeply held fear of weakness, flaws, shortcomings and how these many bring us undone or case embarrassment. Fear of failure tends to extinguish most attempts to discover or strengths and talents. Strangely there appears to be a reluctance to extend above the bench mark of mediocrity. Like a high jumper we fear that flaws in our technique will stop us reaching the qualification mark, and we are afraid of trying something new that could help us soar to new heights by developing out talents.
Some people may feel they don't have any real strengths or talents or that they are inadequate or just average. But this often occurs because we have suppressed them for so long and have failed to develop them. Everyone is good at something and the trick is to turn good into better and finally best.
You can't develop or expand what you don't recognize or are unaware of. Revealing them and developing them involves seeing them as seeds, developing a plan to water them so they will grow. It requires a lot of perseverance and determination and a way of monitoring your progress towards the goal of seeing your talents and strengths blossom and realise their true potential.
Embracing the Courage to Be The Best you Can
Strangely one of the toughest things to do is to face up to your natural strengths and talents. Bypass these feelings and fear of failure and commit yourself to becoming who you really are or really can be. The best way of doing this is to find a coach or mentor to work with you to identify and develop the kernel of your talents. It may be hard to do yourself because you are unwilling or incapable of taking the risks on your own. Expect to have to take a few steps forward, only to be faced with set backs and challenges that make you go back a few steps. Set some targets and goals and monitor your progress towards achieving them.
Discovering your true strengths and talents and developing their full potential is the pathway towards improvement, success and fulfilling your dreams and expectations, and so it is worth the effort and challenges.
Six Tips for Self Improvement
- Be bifocal, by focusing on today's issues with the future in mind.
- Seek and accept support from others
- Accept other’s reality
- Focus on listening
- Understand yourself
- Focus on what you have achieved and your progress, not on how far you yet have to go
© 2012 Dr. John Anderson