Growth begins when we start to accept our own weakness. Jean Vanier
It is when we appreciate our weakness that we begin to focus on strengthening it. It is easy to build up on our strengths for it comes naturally to a person but it is the person who has the vision and the commitment who can accept his/ her limitations and strategize to succeed despite those limitations. Take the case of a tennis player who has a relatively weaker service as compared to the peers. When the person acknowledges that weakness, only then can that person adopt a tactic that will ensure that the serve is efficient first time around and learn to anticipate the returns correctly. Thereafter they can leverage their strengths of regular play to outplay the opponent.
Success camouflages a lot of weakness and that is why when we study the corporate space we make a startling discovery that many a successful company 50 years ago has vanished half a century later. It is extremely tough to introspect objectively when the going is good, for we are delirious with excitement over our successes and we almost seem invincible. However every passing day brings changes and one weakness that many fail to see is the repercussions of CHANGE. How many anticipated the technology driven changes that have almost made the globe a level playing field? Even if one anticipated it how many could foresee how things would pan out and how one could ensure that the technology is leveraged in order to keep abreast of the competition?
There are times when lack of self belief is the weakness. This is even more catastrophic for one can give up just when on the cusp of success. The antidote is self belief and persistence. Each one of us is capable of generating new ideas but to believe in the success of the idea and having the tenacity to execute it are issues that one needs to examine carefully. There would be many critics and perhaps a motley set of ardent supporters. The challenge is to objectively understand the pros and cons propounded and examine it in the light of one’s personal abilities and then proceed ahead. Fear of failure is closely associated with the lack of self belief. In real life the successful people are the ones who have weathered failure of many hues before they could actually rectify their weakness and leverage their strengths to succeed. Failure by itself is not a weakness but not learning from failure is the weakness.
Can we identify weakness easily? It is possible simply because it triggers many tell tale signs. To begin with most things we are uncomfortable with or don’t enjoy doing indicate a possible area of weakness. E.g. We may love to teach but end up working in an office and you just don’t enjoy that work. Here the weakness is you inability to change tracks and / or your inability to enjoy the current job or it could be your lack of self belief that you can be a successful teacher. Many a time we confuse our passion with ability and it is here that objective analysis of performance and feedback will give us clarity on how strong or weak we are in that area. Lack of encouragement or appreciation often leads to a situation where your strengths remain underdeveloped whilst we try to cope with activities that cater to parental/ societal expectations. E.g. There might be an artist in you yearning to showcase your talent but ultimately you sideline it and pursue other academic pursuits as dictated by convention. The key here is in listening to you inner voice and developing your self- belief.
If you don’t realize you weakness, it is well neigh impossible to even appreciate your strengths and the net effect is disenchantment, disheartened and disappointment. Once you realize your weakness you will make attempts to either cope with it or overcome it. That is when growth begins and you begin to experience happiness, confidence and sense of achievement.
Remember: “There’s a basic human weakness inherent in all people which tempts them to want what they can’t have and not want what is readily available to them.”M. Kathleen Casey
- Make an elaborate list of your strengths. It should have not less then 10 strengths listed. Now consult close family members and friends and ask them to rank your strengths from strongest to weakest. Tabulate the results and identify those strengths that others have ranked as weak. Work on those strengths and soon you would have improved on your effectiveness.
- Honestly ask yourself if you are guilty of any of the following weakness:
- Being too talkative thereby making you a poor listener
- Being too critical and sarcastic thereby find it hard to appreciate others
- Being quick tempered and rude thereby alienating too many people
- Being fastidious and finicky thereby irritating others unnecessarily
- Being timid and quite thereby tactically giving your consent on matters that you really oppose
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