Discover Your Potential Obstacles
If you are a job seeker and attending an interview, you can bet that you will most likely be asked about your personal strengths and weaknesses. All Human Resources Managers would tell you that knowing your personal strengths and weaknesses can help you a lot in choosing the right career or making good decisions.
I am going to take a slightly different position to assert that strengths and weaknesses are totally a myth. Because, no one naturally possess them. No human possesses any single strength or weakness. What we do possess are natural talents and non-talents, but these are not the same as strengths and weaknesses.
It has become common to tell someone he or she has a weakness and call it “an opportunity for development.” It supports the incorrect view that someone can fix a weakness by developing a new natural talent for something. If one of my clients is suffering from a weakness, I tell him or her straight up. But the key is that this weakness is not natural, it is manufactured.
Strengths and weaknesses do not exist naturally, only talents and non-talents. If, however, I rely on a non-talent, then I create a weakness for myself. Likewise, if I don’t rely on my talents then they are never strengths for me. In this way, I manufacture strengths and weaknesses.
In other words, you are ultimately in control of your strengths and weaknesses. You may be born with talents and non-talents, but you are in charge of whether or not those talents and non-talents are used to become strengths or weaknesses. When you allow your success to depend on your talents, you create strengths. When you allow your success to depend on your non-talents, you create weaknesses.
This might seem like I am talking about some minor, semantic difference, but this is much more than a simple play on words. Understanding this concept requires a total change of perspective. Most people buy into the myth that they possess their strengths and weaknesses and fail to understand that they don’t actually possess them, they create them. The power is theirs as to whether these strengths and weaknesses exist.
The thing that controls how these potentials turn out is how you apply yourself. Just as Mom used to say, “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out,” so too, you bring your weaknesses into this world, and you can take them out. But instead of trying to take them out by developing new natural talents, you are simply going to remove your dependency on them, by not making your success dependent on your non-talents!
It is talent that makes some people art and music enthusiasts while others are sports or business minded. Talent sets broad guidelines on everyone’s behavior, patterns which will influence a person as long as (s)he lives. Each talent has its own unique qualities and shortcomings, strengths and challenges. What accounts for these differences?
To use the idea of talent most effectively, it is important to understand that talents are not simply arbitrary collections of characteristics, but spring from an interaction of the two basic dimensions of human behavior: our communication and our action, our words and our deeds, or, simply, what we say and what we do.
Isn’t it interesting that some people talk about reality, while others talk about ideas? Some people do what works, while others do what is right. The bottom line is each person has the choice to develop his natural talent strengths and overcome his natural talent weaknesses. To what degree this occurs depends on the individual’s motivation. It is possible to learn how to control and overcome the natural weaknesses associated with a talent blend.
It is of benefit furthermore to recognize one’s talent. Only if one knows it, can he judge correctly himself, his moods, his peculiarities, his past life. If one knows one’s own talent, he can work out his own perfection with greater assurance, because finally the whole effort toward self-perfection consists in the perfection of his talents and in the combating of his non-talents.
Imagine you are a soldier tasked with getting from point A to point B. You look at your map and determine the best route to take to achieve your objective, and you start out on that path. Along the way, however, you come upon a minefield. At this point you have two choices. You could choose option A, whereby you stick to your original path but stop to defuse each mine as you come to it. Or you could choose option B, whereby you simply walk around the minefield. Which would seem the most advantageous and expeditious? Soldiers choose option B because it is faster and less risky.
Unfortunately, in real life most people are taught to choose option A. They are given an objective, determine a path to it and start down it. If along the way they realize that they have a weakness (a mine), instead of changing their path they stop to try and fix that weakness (defuse the mine).
The process of becoming a great leader doesn’t lie in becoming an expert at defusing mines or fixing weaknesses. It comes in being an expert in plotting a course that bypasses the mines altogether. If you choose option A, you manufacture a liability or a hazard. When you choose option B, the mines are still dangerous, but since your path to success doesn’t take you through the minefield, they remain only potential hazards.
This article is about helping you discover potential mental obstacles so you can plot a course around them instead of through them. In the end, this course is much faster, easier and less likely to blow up in your face.
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