What are your strengths and limitations and which do you focus on? We all have our own set of strengths and limitations. There are the things that we do well, almost effortlessly, and then there are things that we do not do as well which often presents challenges if not outright struggle.
Your Strengths and Limitations
When it comes to your strengths and limitations, let us first look at the limitation side of the equation…
The truth is that limitations are a fact of a life. Most of us have to deal with limitations around money and time pretty much every day. But other limitations might include physical health, physical disabilities, learning disabilities, race, gender, age, location or status.
Other areas where we my limited may include lack of education, training, skills, knowledge, and credentials.
However, limitations fall into two categories. First there are the limits that we believe or think that we have and then there are limits that are true and absolute physical limits that no matter what you can exceed or move past.
For instance, right now I do not believe that I could bench press 200 pounds if I had to. And I couldn’t, right now, but given enough time in the gym, sure I can get there. That is more of a soft or limit of thought.
However, an example of a hard or physical limit, that which is truly impossible would be me bench pressing 500 pounds… No matter how much time I spent in the gym training, that amount of weight is impossible because my body is not designed to do that and no amount of lifting can change that.
Yet no matter how many limitations we may have in our lives, what levels the playing field is the choice that we all have when it comes to how we perceive those limits. The way we relate to and manage our limitations ultimately decides what we can accomplish and how far we will go in life.
We’ve talked enough about limitations and weaknesses but what about strengths? When it comes to your strengths and limitations, is it better to try to overcome the weaknesses or capitalize on the strengths that you already have?
And like many of the questions about life, the answer is simply, “it depends.”
In a nutshell, the best approach is always to emphasize your strengths… you know, accentuate the positives and go with those. After all, you are good at what you do and you possess your own unique set of talents and skills for a reason. However, I do not believe that means to completely ignore and fail to develop your weaknesses to the best of your abilities either.
Me… I am a good uphill runner and I can move rather quickly across flat terrain as well. However, when it comes to running downhill, I am slower and more cautious. I focus on my weakness to make me the best downhill runner that I can be but I know that no matter what on down hill segments, people are going to pass me.
But since I know my strengths are ups and flats, I put most of my training energy there because although I may lose ground to other runners going downhill, I know I will catch them in the flats and ups, so it all work out. (Most of the time.) So how do I use my weakness to my advantage? Well, while others are trashing their quads more than likely, I use my weakness (limitation) of being slow going down hill to allow myself time to regroup, and somewhat catch my breath so that I can exploit my strengths even more when given the chance.
Tim Ferris the author of The Four Hour Work Week says, “Emphasize strengths, don’t fix weaknesses.” And I believe he is right to a point. However, I believe that our weaknesses should always be developed as much as possible and up to the point that you can fully utilize them as well as your strengths, using both in unison for a much more rounded effort at whatever it is you are trying to do.
Your strengths and your weaknesses… they are both important and both can be used in your favor.
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