Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

Focus on StrengthsI think this is something with which all of us struggle. We tend to think about and work on our weaknesses more than on our strengths!

Think about it! If someone came up to you right now and said “tell me what your strengths are.” You’d probably struggle to come up with more than just a few pat answers like “I’m kind, I’m loving, I have a good sense of humor, I’m especially good at expectorating! ” Right?

However, if that same person said “tell me your weaknesses,” you can probably rattle off a pretty long list of substantial things, like “I struggle with self-esteem, I’m not good a math, I’m afraid of failing, I worry too much about what other people think of me,” and the list can go on.

We can easily list our weaknesses because we’ve been taught to identify the weaknesses in our lives so we can try to improve them. I’m not saying we shouldn’t try to improve our weaknesses. I’m just saying it’s an inappropriate focus.

We tend to focus on the negative things in our lives, rather than on the positive. How many times did you come home from school with several good grades and one or two bad grades on your report card? What got the most attention? I bet you remember the criticisms more than the praises!

The better approach to our lives is to know what we are good at and to strengthen our strengths. In other words, know what you know, and know what you don’t know. Spend more time doing the things and getting better at the things you know and let other people handle the things you don’t know or aren’t good at.

I don’t need to be good at accounting–I can hire an accountant.  I know I’m not a good golf player, so I don’t spend hours a week trying to become one!

I know I’m a good writer, so I work on trying to become a better writer. I know I’m good at encouraging other people to become better, so I try to do that more intentionally. I know I’m a good father, so I spend more energy trying to become better in that area of my life.

I’ve found that as I focus my energy on the positive things in my life, internally and externally, the negative things, somehow, become less negative or, at least, less important.

So my advice to you and to myself, everyday, is to know what you know; know what you are good at;  know your strengths; know what makes you great (and everyone is great at something!) and focus your energy on those things. Look for the positive in yourself and in others and you’ll probably find it!

 

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12 Responses to Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

  1. Stephen Jones October 19, 2013 at 4:12 PM #

    Hello Bruce – I found you on Twitter, and are now following you. I remember the first and only marathon I ran and did actually complete (in a little over 3 and half hours … whew!), which was the First Annual Heart of San Diego Marathon. I developed shin splints so severe, I never ran again. I tried to run again, but time and time again, the pain would return, and after a year I gave up trying and went on to other interests. Hey, it is what it is, and I have no regrets. Now I am 56, have gone through some up and downs with diabetes and blood clots, but I’ve conquered them because of positive thinking, persistence, and the discipline I earned from 6 years of military service. If we never give up, we can accomplish amazing things. Life is our journey, and we’re each on our own.

    All the best to you mate!

    • Bruce October 19, 2013 at 8:26 PM #

      Stephen, thanks for the comment. I’m sorry to hear about your shin splints–I know first hand how painful those are! Keep up the good fight and keep accomplishing amazing things. Blessings!

  2. Elder Shawn Briscoe October 19, 2013 at 6:39 PM #

    You have taken me back to the beginning; when I used to write on index cards and post them in my vision of sight so that I will be reminded of who I want be for the LORD. After reading your words of encouragement all day today on twitter. I’m feeling strengthened and motivated. I believe that I have found a true friend on twitter in you. I too love to encourage and motive people especially confirming in them who the LORD GOD has created them to be. I hope that you have some great motivators in your life who make themselves available via social medias; books; tapes/podcast; mp3; dvd/cds. We need to be ever encouraged and motivated just as much as we encourage and motivate others; maybe more.

    • Bruce October 19, 2013 at 8:30 PM #

      Thank you Shawn! Yes, I am constantly surrounded and influenced by great people–constantly reading to stay motivated. I’m glad you consider me a friend and find my writing motivating–that’s why I’m here! Blessings on all you do!

  3. Roberto October 29, 2013 at 5:03 PM #

    Something I try to practice daily. Thanks for the great write up.

    • Bruce October 29, 2013 at 5:15 PM #

      Thanks, Roberto! I appreciate the feedback!

  4. josh November 7, 2013 at 6:44 PM #

    The whole idea of strengthening your weaknesses is learned during schooling and to a certain degree it is incongruous with the way life works. You hire people for what they are good at doing. I am all for self improvement and life long learning, but you really have to focus on your core strengths because otherwise you just become mediocre at everything.

    • Bruce November 7, 2013 at 7:50 PM #

      Thanks, Josh! I’m currently reading The One Thing by Jay Papasan, which is all about focusing on one thing at time. Highly recommend it!

  5. Jonathan November 18, 2013 at 9:43 AM #

    I shifted my paradigm to strengths based living after completing Gallups strengths finder program. What an amazing way to view the world. In fact I’ve used it in my business working within management teams and family owned businesses. Actually applied it to my whole family; parents and siblings and spouses with a 3rd party certified ‘instructor'; that changed our family dynamics. Enjoyed that experience so much that I partnered with that instructor to start a business. Knowing and enhancing our strengths allows us to follow our true north and live as God designed us.

  6. FI Journey December 11, 2013 at 11:20 AM #

    I absolutely agree, thanks for the reminder. It’s good to take a look at my life from time to time and evaluate where I’m spending too much time worrying about weaknesses. Good perspective!

  7. Alanson Van Fleet February 13, 2014 at 7:09 PM #

    Staying focused on strengths and positive emotions, to outweigh the negative, is key to high performance as a leader … and as a champion. Championship lessons for mindful #leaders. Thanks!

  8. Abdullah Kuloglu May 10, 2014 at 10:06 AM #

    Your focusing on positive knowledge and motivating issues are highly benefical for me your other followers and readers.I will try to benefit from your writings next days.Thanks.

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