What is it in life that you want most? Don’t tell me that you “want to be happy,” because that’s a crappy answer.
Happiness is a fleeting emotion — one that you can’t hold onto forever, but can only enjoy in passing. And the only way to be happy in passing, is if you’re heading in the right direction. So I’ll ask you again, where you headed?
Knowing where you want to head in life is often half the battle. Or at least it seems that way until you realize how much of a struggle you still have ahead of you. Knowing what you want in life is step one. Step two is actually getting there. Problem with this is that there will be many obstacles in your way. For one, you’ll be in your way.
Your habits, your weaknesses, your ability or inability to persevere, all will be tested, and will — at the very least — slow you down, if not hold you back altogether. Some of us manage to get past this, but even when we do, we’re met with more opposition. The truth is that anything worth going after, is being gone after by others. And while you may be very smart and incredibly talented, you’re not the only one. There are others.
A direct battle is usually best avoided, but when there’s no way to get around the problem, you have to go through it. If you won’t, your competition will. This is why it’s so important to have a good understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. Without that knowledge, you won’t survive. And if your competition has that knowledge about you, then they will use it against you. Luckily, knowing your weaknesses could be your strongest weapon. If used properly, of course.
Until you know your weaknesses — you’re only seeing a partial picture.
What’s the biggest difference between the most successful people on the planet, and all those that wish they were successful? Believe it or not, the biggest difference is that successful individuals know themselves very, very well. And more than just that, they accept themselves.
Whether we’re talking about a successful artist, business person, athlete, employee, scholar, philanthropist — you name it — chances are that they know themselves better than the average person. It doesn’t mean they are better than others — some of the most successful people are complete assholes, sometimes seemingly missing a soul altogether — but they know who they are, and they don’t shy away from who they are.
It’s important to know yourself, flaws and all. It gives you this feeling of calm… knowing that no matter how crazy life may get, you’ll never completely feel lost. You’ll always have yourself as your guiding star. It’s when we don’t know who we are, we don’t know our strengths, our weaknesses, our passions, that we get caught up in all the bullshit that goes on around us, and lose track of what’s most important to us. I mean, if you don’t know yourself, how can you even know what’s really most important to you?
Life is about improvement — you need to know where improvement is necessary.
Being a well rounded individual is important. That’s not to say that you need to be good at everything you do, or that you should focus all your energy on strengthening your weaknesses. Truth is, it’s usually more beneficial to focus on continuously improving and honing in on your strengths.
The most successful individuals in the world are usually really, really good at a couple of things — maybe a handful, tops. They know what their strengths are, and they bank on them. Being average at everything will never get you as far as being incredibly strong in one or two areas. With that said, a weakness is still a weakness, and it could end up breaking you.
While you should most certainly double down on your strengths, focusing on strengthening your weaknesses has it’s benefits as well. For starters, it boosts your confidence. It makes you feel stronger knowing that even your weakest link packs a punch. It opens new opportunities to you. It opens up your mind to new ideas, new ways of looking at problems that you’ve had a difficult time of solving.
Sharpening your weakest skills doesn’t need to be your focus, but it should be the way you spend your free time. Make it fun. You can turn just about anything into a game… you’ll likely feel a bit uncomfortable at first — that tends to happen when we start doing things we know we aren’t great at — but in time your skills will improve, and you’ll start to feel a bit more invincible. Remember, when it comes to success, ego goes a very long way.
If others know your weaknesses, and you know they know your weaknesses, you can use that to your advantage.
Let’s get real for minute. While the whole world isn’t out to get you, your competition most certainly is. If you’re aiming to win, then believe me when I tell you that your competition is aiming on making you lose. The higher the stakes, the more vicious the competition. Don’t be fooled into believing anything to the contrary, because it will end up being your demise.
Look at it this way: when a general is going to war, what is his point of attack? Well, while in part it will certainly depend on his army’s strengths, it will mostly depend on his opponent’s weaknesses.
The best generals, leaders, fighters, competitors, all aim for the soft spots. Why? Because it may take a wrecking ball to break down the barricades you’ve built around your strengths, but one swift — albeit not especially powerful — blow to an area of weakness, and you’ll likely buckle altogether.
Your competition will always go for your knees. They’ll always hit you where it hurts most, where they can do the most damage, and that’s always going to be where you’re weakest. While a strong offense is incredibly important, a strong defense is usually what ends up being the determining factor.
And your defense is only as good as your weakest point. If you know your weakest point, and you know that your competition knows your weakest point, then you can use that to your advantage. What better way to win then to know where the attack is going to hit?