Weaknesses are part of what makes us human. You probably have a fairly balanced list of learned strengths, weaknesses, and skills, and maybe you’ve accepted that.
But what if you discovered that some of your weaknesses could actually be giant assets on your way to success? What if you could turn your negative traits upside down and make them not only positive, but also an instrument for your goals? Here’s how experts reveal 6 powerful ways to turn your weaknesses into strengths.
1. Acknowledge both strengths and weaknesses, and accept them both
To improve something, you must recognize that it exists and needs improvement. Gallup Global Consulting and Analysis Company define a “weakness” as anything that can affect your chances of success. These weaknesses can reduce your potential when you completely ignore them.
Essentially, you need self-awareness if you are going to move on with your life. That awareness ensures that you can recognize both weaknesses and strengths clearly.
- Not being able to see your weaknesses or how those weaknesses affect you and your life.
- Consider the most crucial weaknesses to develop and ignore the strengths.
- Claiming to have strengths that are not actually possessed or exaggerating existing strengths
- React negatively, defensively, or protectively when faced with areas of weakness
This is why it is so crucial to properly acknowledge your weaknesses and strengths while appreciating the truth about them. You need to know what you are good at, what you are bad at, and why each skill is valuable to you in some way.
It is also useful to better classify your weaknesses. You may have a weakness that occurs because it is the opposite side of the same coin as a strength. You may also have a weakness that occurs due to lack of experience or incomplete refinement of that ability. By segregating your weaknesses into these categories, you will know how to address them.
A word of caution
Still, do this in moderation. Many people feel pressure to improve on things they are not great at, often focusing on the negative over the negative. positive. But the fact is, you can’t be good at everything. When you focus only on weaknesses and ignore your strengths, you end up:
- Finding a lot of resistance, frustration, and negativity with nothing positive to balance it out
- Achieve mediocrity at best when you are not picky about the weaknesses you want to improve
- Create a toxic environment in your brain that is trained to see only your bad sides and never notice anything good about yourself.
- Losing positive thinking regarding your abilities, which means you are less likely to bring your weaknesses to the level of strengths
- Believing that weaknesses should develop with the same speed and levels of progress as strengths, although in reality, the things you are not talented at will require more work.
While it is powerful to take weaknesses and turn them around, it is equally important to understand that it is not necessary to focus on all weaknesses. You shouldn’t lose sight of your current strengths in favor of improving your weaknesses, so work on both at the same time!
2. Put your weaknesses on a “to do” list
Weaknesses are completely possible to change, that is, if you put the effort into doing it! For many people, it can be difficult not only to face weaknesses, but to commit to changing them. Instead of leaving them as abstract items, put them on a to-do list of improvement goals.
Josh Waitzkin, author of “The art of learning: a journey in search of excellenceAnd a Tai-Chi and chess master talks about how this to-do list can help you achieve what success really is. Explain that it is a mixture of:
- Enjoying the learning process
- Invest in every loss
- Never thinking of a fixed world
- Adopting an organic process
- Adopt a long-term learning effort
- Get out of mediocrity and comfort zones
This is known as a “growth mindset,” which is the opposite of the common fixed mindset. A fixed mindset would involve viewing yourself as an unchanging entity with relatively static strengths and weaknesses. For example, if you have a fixed mindset, you could say:
- I don’t think I can achieve that because I’m bad at time management.
- That sounds great, but I can’t reach that level due to my lack of skill.
- I will probably pass up that opportunity because I know I am not equipped to handle it.
On the other hand, a growth mindset is much more positive. Hug. The idea that you can and will continue to learn and grow throughout your life, often dramatically. Remember, you are your own worst enemy and the only person standing between your current self and your goals for the future. Get into a growth mindset and get on with your to-do list!
3. Engaging in a deliberate practice
Deliberate practice is one of the most effective ways to help make your learning curve more efficient and effective, with positive effects on your comprehension rate. Anders Ericsson, a psychologist, describes this type of practice as episodes or periods of time that involve intense concentration in relatively real conditions to practice a specific skill.
According to Albert Bandura, another psychologist, this act of deliberate practice benefits even more from something called “guided mastery.” Guided Mastery is the act of combining deliberate practice with instant constructive feedback, dramatically accelerating skill acquisition. Bandura believes that emotional barriers of all kinds can be overcome in this way.
Deliberate practice sounds simple, but don’t forget one of your most important factors: unobtrusive skill. This requires the act of concentrating on a very specific part of a skill that you are trying to learn and perfect in your practice of that specific element. Once you’re happy with that item, you can move on to the next one!
In life, it is not possible to do it completely alone. So do not do it! There are so many people in the world with abilities and strengths from all kinds of perspectives. The partners who challenge you are the ones who can help you turn your weaknesses into strengths. Here are some tips to make this happen:
Know the strengths of others
When you see other people for their strengths, you discover a different way of looking at the world, says Dr. Alex Linley, founding director of the Center for Applied Positive Psychology. This method allows you to appreciate people for what they can do about weaknesses that you have probably already noticed. It teaches you to value the mix of ups and downs that each person comes with and shows you the importance of a diverse mix of strengths and weaknesses in a team. Why is this important? Because it also transforms your understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses.
Learn from strong people
By surrounding yourself with capable people, you can learn from them. If you have a weakness in a certain field, being around someone strong in that field allows you to learn from their skills. They can be your mentors, both officially and unofficially! It is a wonderful way to learn and is called “observational learning” by experts.
Don’t be afraid to trust the strengths of others
It is simply not possible to be good at everything. Author and Public Speaker Dave Rendall claims we were raised with the idea that having someone help us with something we’re bad at is a negative act. It is a way of thinking that we carry into adulthood, but it is false. There is simply no way to do it all yourself. There are some weaknesses that you may never be able to perfect. So learn when to ask for help from those who have strengths that you lack. Build a team of people who can help each other and cover each other’s backs and your weaknesses will become the things that help you work with other strong people!
5. Think of weaknesses as blind spots and then try to address them
Sometimes weaknesses are in places you just can’t see or think. This is why you should listen carefully to constructive criticism and solicit feedback from people you trust and respect. “Leadership Blind Spots: How Successful Leaders Identify and Overcome Weaknesses That Matter“Author Robert Bruce Shaw explains that there are many possible reasons for blind spots, including:
- Misaligned incentives
- Gaps in experiences
- Emotional biases
Shaw says it’s important to accept that blind spots are inevitable. When you accept this, you can be aware of them and learn to handle them without becoming complacent. Not sure how to find your blind spots? Here are some ways to start your search:
- Seek advice from people you know are skilled, trustworthy, or respectable
- Reflect on your actions and behavior, then check in with yourself regularly
- Be your own devil’s advocate; Argue with yourself and look for flaws in your statements, logic, and beliefs.
- Establish an agreement with a partner to verify with each other their respective blind spots of weakness
6. Look for all the possibilities
Some people try to rush from identifying a weakness to jumping straight to the most obvious solution. But by doing this, you are skipping a very important step that could provide you with valuable and much-needed information.
Before you start embarking on the path to an obvious solution, take the time to list all the possibilities. Don’t overthink them, just write what comes to mind, then read your list and make notes and changes. Don’t be afraid of looking silly or weird. This is your private list!
Over time, you will find great possibilities that you may have missed before. I need help? Try asking yourself the following questions:
- What is causing this weakness?
- What are the ways in which weakness can be improved?
- What things are you doing now that are counterproductive?
- What strengths do you have that can combat this weakness?
You can’t help having weaknesses. What’s important is learning how to choose ones to work on and finding ways to improve them effectively. Who knows? Perhaps a glaring weakness of yours will become one of your great strengths in a couple of years with hard work and positive thinking!