What If You Focused on Your Weaknesses Instead?

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” — Haruki Murakami.

You’ve probably come across that quote. I didn’t even know the original author until today. I may forget again tomorrow. That’s one of my weaknesses; I forget things.

In a way, my brain decides what is essential and leaves out the rest. I have a hard time memorizing things, and my default answer is almost always “I don’t know?”

Alexa…where’s my phone?

The quote, though, is worth reiterating.

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” — Haruki Murakami.

We can expand this to general advice. Suppose you only listen to the advice that everyone is listening to. In that case, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.

When it comes to focusing on your strengths and forgetting about your weakness, most people would agree that it’s the best part. Gary Vaynerchuk — who I hope you meet one day — has said this multiple times in many ways: Know yourself, focus on what you’re good at. Focus on your “strengths.”

I agree with that view when it comes to things like content creation and even career paths. When you get very good at something you already have talent in, you can become unstoppable.

When I use the word “weakness” here, I mean character/personality flaws we’re aware of that hinder our general progress. Things like my memory above, or not being good with numbers, or being impatient with life.

I firmly believe it’s okay to work hard on your weaknesses.

Worst case scenario, you get a little better. You leave from not being able to remember anyone’s phone number to remembering their first names. That’s some significant improvement!

Best case? They become your strength. You become the person who can connect two people who have a lot in common. You become a super-connector like James Altucher would say.

Say you have a quick temper. You get triggered fast, and you know it. Your family knows it. People are afraid to talk to you or cross you. People avoid you at the office ( or in Zoom Meetings). You even feel a little proud of how much you intimidate them.

Now, it “becomes” your identity, and people expect you to get pissed almost all the time. It’s not even surprising anymore.

Eggs around you.

Outwardly, you might have chosen to be this way. But inside, you wish things would be different. You wish you could connect more and get things done without having to be such a bully.

Imagine you decided to work on your anger issues. You learned how to understand and address your emotions. You worked on your self.

Your family and co-workers may have the expectation they you’ll get upset at something.

Spoiler alert: you don’t.

You express how you feel in a calm, patient way. You’re not repressing the emotions. You’re still pissed. But you’ve learned how to communicate with compassion and love. You’re a professional. You’re zen. You get things done.

Will they be surprised when this happens? Definitely. They won’t even believe it’s real. They’ll expect you to snap back eventually.

But then you don’t. Or when you do, you recoup very fast.

What do you think will happen when you show over and over that you’re making the effort to work on this and become better?

How do you think this will affect your relationship with them? Or even your outlook on life? Is it possible that you’ll discover how much control you have in your life and stop seeking their approval completely? I bet it would.

Maybe anger is not your weakness. Replace it with whatever.

Financial illiteracy. Procrastinating. Sweet tooth. Deceit. “Bad memory.”

You know your weaknesses. We all do.

We’re often ashamed of them and try to hide them from the reality that it affects us, and no matter what everyone says, we’re aware of what we can and can’t do.

So, work hard on them. There’s the only upside. Leaving from a 2 to a 5 is guaranteed to have exponentially good results over time.

What do you have to lose anyway?

Cameroonian writer and video creator. Featured in LEVEL and P.S. I Love You. I write about building relationships and personal transformation.

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