Tell me your strength, I’ll tell you your weakness

The older I get, the more that I can see the unique abilities of each person I meet. Doing a significant amount of reading on psychology, brain functions, and some different personality type frameworks helped me significantly in this regard.

One thing that should be obvious, but for many of my younger years wasn’t, is that everyone’s strength is the flip side of their weakness, there just isn’t a way around this. When your brain is focused on it’s strength it has to not being doing the thing that is your weakness. There is only so much processing power available.

To give a couple examples:

  • Someone who is good at staying alert is bad at day dreaming. I want them standing guard as a soldier or security guard, but they may not be great at imagining and writing a play.
  • Someone who is good at understanding others and empathy is not going to be as good as doing things “by the numbers” as someone who isn’t.

This is by nature. You can work on your weaknesses, but by default your strengths create your weaknesses. The real trick is finding positions where your strengths are valued. I want someone who is alert and doesn’t daydream flying the plane I’m on. If I’m in theater production I want daydreamers all day.

Here’s one thing I’ve noticed about this in a personal anecdote. I’ve spent a good amount of time overcoming the weaknesses that I have. While now most people don’t think of them as my weaknesses, what they are to me is exhausting. They aren’t a liability in that I’m unable to do the work, but they are significantly more draining then the things I’m strong in.

Think about this for yourself, it’s a great exercise in self-awareness and as a side-thought, if you see someone you work with who seems competent in their work, but burned out, they may have developed and are using their natural weakness in their job role, and it’s burning them out. Figuring out what their natural strengths are and playing to that may increase their satisfaction and their production at the same time.