It is our strengths which differentiate us from the pack, that help us to scale the heights and achieve our goals, and it is here that we should place the majority, if not all of our efforts.
When we work on our weakness, unless they are fatal, we will only end up achieving a fraction of what we can achieve. When we focus on our weaknesses we are focusing on becoming average, because its not our weaknesses that will allow us to achieve greatness or even get close to it, and more often than not it will hold us back.
I learnt this lesson the hard way when I was at university. I studied mathematics and for the end of year exams we had to average a pass across all subjects. So if you scored 90% in one and 30% in another overall you would have an average of 60% which would be more than good enough for a pass.
There was one subject that I just didn’t get, no matter how hard I worked I just didn’t get it. I was determined to master it, it was my main area of weakness and I felt that it was going to hold me back, so even though I had seven or 8 subjects I was studying, some which I was great at, and others I was good at, I spent the majority, well over 70% of my time, revising and working on this one topic which I struggled with. I wanted to pass each and every exam, I didn’t want to have any failures blotting my copy book.
From the title of this blog you can guess what happened, I failed, not only did I struggle in the course I found extremely hard, but I also struggled in the subjects I was good at, as I hadn’t done enough revision. I did ok in those subjects but not enough to cover in the subject I struggled with.
As a result I had to resit then entire set of exams all 8 them.
This time around I decided to take a different approach, I decided that I would spend no time studying the subject I found difficult, and would put all my efforts into the subjects I loved and was good at.
The second time the result was different. I passed and I passed easily. I got great scores on the subjects I knew and loved and these more than made up for the poor score in the one subject I disliked, and was no good at.
This was a great lesson for me, because it showed me that, by focusing on my weaknesses I actually damaged my performance, damaged it enough that I failed.
Now if I’d have to have passed every single exam, then I would have needed to have found a way to get through that subject, but that wasn’t the case, and that’s not often the case in life either.
The challenge is that we see and feel our weaknesses and give them much more importance and relevance than they truly deserve.
We need to do an honest assessment, maybe even get the input of others. Which can be difficult as we need to get vulnerable in order to share our weaknesses. But if we can do that, then we can often find that our weaknesses are not as relevant as we might feel, or that there maybe other ways to over come them.
My recommendation is always to focus on your strengths, build those up, because they are the differentiators, they are what will help you achieve your goals, your dreams.