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Strengths and Weaknesses

Improving Systems and Habits

Scott Miker is the author of several books that describe how to use systems and habits to improve.  This free blog provides articles that to help understand the principles related to building systems.  

Strengths and Weaknesses

Scott Miker

Everyone has strengths and everyone has weaknesses.  Everyone has positives and negatives about them.  No matter whom you are talking about, there are things they do well and things they do poorly.

If we all have strengths and weaknesses, how can some people become successful while others struggle to have any real success in their life?

Sometimes we can point to education.  We say education improves your chances of success.  But there are certainly outliers and examples of uneducated individuals being incredibly successful or educated individuals being unsuccessful. 

Sometimes we can point to hard work.  We can show that the successful individual worked long days and did whatever they could to get head.  But then we see someone who gets their position because of a relative or friend and end up improving and growing their career to great success.

Sometimes we can point to luck.  We can see an entrepreneur struggle and suddenly a new technology comes out and they are positioned perfectly to take advantage of that new technology. 

Sometimes we can point to risk.  We see a successful individual who has taken incredible risk and each time comes out ahead.  Things just seem to go in their favor.

For most people, this doesn’t actually help us improve.  There isn’t one specific step to take in order to be successful.  And if you are able to be successful in one area of your life, that doesn’t mean every area of your life is successful.

We are bombarded with successful athletes, politicians, celebrities, school officials etc. etc. that we agree are the perfect example of success.  Then news comes out that they cheated, or beat their wife, or haven’t paid their taxes, or took part in some crazy scheme etc. 

The reality is that we all have strengths and weaknesses.  Managing those and understanding those is very important if we truly want to go somewhere new and accomplish something different.

Weaknesses can drag you down.  If you hate math and want to start a business, this could crush your business.  It may mean that you start to make poor business decisions because you can’t understand the math and see that this upcoming opportunity is really cost-prohibitive and will lead to spending way more than you can possibly bring in.

If you are an athlete but hate training, this will likely end your career before it even gets started.  Yes some athletes and some sports have players with tremendous talent and poor work ethic, but this isn’t the standard.  Having a poor work ethic will likely prevent any real success in athletics for 99.99% of the population.  If you happen to have God-given characteristics that mean you can perform better than everyone else, a solid work ethic will help you to maximize your success.

So we need to pay attention to weaknesses.  We have to be humble enough to see them so we can make sure they don’t drown us.  But if all we do is spend time fixing weaknesses we can never really explore what makes us great.  And that is just as important if we want to succeed. 

Strengths are great.  They give us advantage and help us in specific ways.  But strengths by themselves are not good enough.  In today’s world we have to take those strengths and grow them and then leverage them. 

Leveraging our strengths will help us pull away from being mediocre.  Instead of doing the minimum and staying there, we can start to use our strengths to find unique aspects to us that are valuable. 

So it isn’t as simple as it might seem.  It isn’t just about getting a degree, or taking a risk, or working hard.  It is a combination of those.  There isn’t a specific formula to follow as much as there are general guidelines that might help us improve.

In addition, it isn’t just about correcting weaknesses or identifying strengths.  We have to have enough self-awareness to address those things holding us back, but if we can’t simultaneously grow our strengths we won’t be able to reach the level of success we are capable of reaching.

So shift your focus.  Instead of expecting some magical success bullet point, start to work on the principle of continuously making progress.  Keeping improving.  Doing this over and over throughout your life will start to mean that you are addressing weaknesses and growing strengths.  It could mean getting a higher education, taking careful risks, working harder, etc. 

By doing this you will be moving in the right direction and ready to jump when the right opportunity comes along.  Ignoring this principle will likely mean that you aren’t ready when that opportunity comes along or you won’t even see it when it shows up.  Then it will pass you by and leave you wondering how you can be the success that you know you can be.