Develop Your Strengths and Forget About Those Weaknesses

develop your strengths and forget about those weaknessesIt’s funny sometimes how sensitive we are about our weaknesses. Nobody wants to admit they have any, yet everyone knows they do. And believe me, if you think you don’t have any, people around you will surely find some.

Anyone else seen the initial tryouts to American Idol each season? There is no shortage of people who can’t sing see their weaknesses in this beautiful country.

Yes, everybody wants to believe that they’re incredible at everything. But if this were really true, what would it look like?

To use bloggers as an example, this would mean that not only are you a killer writer, you know just how to promote the snot out of your site and can create a killer design for your blog. And all of these things will be equally high quality. Not likely.

In a perfect world, this could happen. People could be great at everything. (And I’d have that pony I’ve been wanting since childhood.) But in reality hardly anybody falls into this category. Actually, this qualifies them for another category- “freak of nature”.

If you’re going to be productive, you have to concentrate on your strengths. If you spend all of your time trying to improve your weakness, your strengths will decrease, and your weaknesses will probably become mediocre. So you’ll be all around mediocre.

Contract Worker shows us the 70/20/10 model (popularized by Eric Schmidt) for developing those mad professional skills. A writer using the model would:

  1. Spend 70% of his time writing. Or making a living.
  2. 20% maintaining his equipment, replenishing supplies, making new contacts, or other activities that support the craft.
  3. 10% on what may seem unrelated, but ultimately beneficial for the freelancer. Such as investing what he’s earned into money-making assets. Or looking for new ways to maximize your abilities.

Note that there isn’t a “spend 30% of his time becoming mediocre at something he’s really crappy at”. There’s a reason for this.

If everybody was mediocre, there would be no Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or Jim Hensons or Abe Lincolns or <insert your name here>. We need people with flaws just as much as we need the people with great attributes. Flaws mean that no matter how bad we are at one aspect of life, we’re equally as good (if not better) at something else. And that we can always find someone who is skilled in our weaknesses. And vice-versa.

Forget about the weaknesses, develop the strengths.

[Props to Rico]

Leave a Comment

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Deepak Othungot April 21, 2008, 7:18 am

    Can’t agree more. This is one practlcal statement much better than the cliched: “Fortify ur strengths and build on ur weaknesses” crap… thanks a ton for the post

  • Manny February 27, 2007, 10:40 pm

    Economies grow by division of labor. A hundred years ago we HAD to be good at a lot of things to survive. But, back then, just as your post says, most people were probably below average in most of the things they did. Nowadays you deliver high value by “owning” a much smaller niche, but everyone benefits, because, hopefully, THEY TOO are out-perfuming in their own niche. And so the pie grows faster.

  • Pamela February 26, 2007, 7:38 am

    It’s true that we should focus on our strengths and not our weaknesses. It’s like practicing on something that we already know. By leaving it alone, our skills on that matter will definitely decrease.

  • glen February 24, 2007, 3:52 pm

    Excellent point Rico. You can find solutions/help for anything online these days.. ;)

  • Rico February 24, 2007, 2:03 pm

    Yes, it’s true we can always find someone who can make up for what we lack, especially when it’s easier to work online nowadays. That’s why it’s a great time to be a freelancer. :)