"Success is achieved by developing our strengths, not by eliminating our weaknesses." -- Marilyn vos Savant
When we think of self-improvement, we often think of our perceived faults and shortcomings, like balls and chains around our ankles, weighing us down and keeping us from the life we want to live. The reality is that we are all dealt certain cards that are less than ideal -- cards whose improvement might cost us more time, energy, and effort than is worth putting towards their betterment. Other cards may be altogether unchangeable.
There are certainly those cards that have the ability to hijack our dreams -- those fiery cards that must be tended to before they set the rest of our cards aflame. Still, on the whole, our time would be put to much better use if we focused on our gifts and assets. We must play to our strengths.
As humans, we are deep conformists, believing that we must match others' strengths as thought they were our own. Yet, if we spend our lives trying to be good at everything, we would never be great at anything. We would spend our lifetimes consumed with feelings of insecurity and inadequacy, condemned and made captive by our comparisons.
By focusing on our strengths and daily successes rather than focusing on fixing our failures, we become more effective in life and find greater meaning, satisfaction, and agency. By building on strengths, we learn more, grow more, and grow closer to fulfilling our potential.
- Bring to mind one perceived weakness you have been struggling with for some time - something for which no amount of self-improvement seems enough.
- Inhale and feel your resistance -- your body and mind trying to push this away.
- Exhale and allow your body and thoughts to relax.
- Now, bring one strength to mind.
- What would it be like to focus your attention on this strength every time the tug of your weakness comes up? What would it be like to spend your time and energy on trying to improve upon your weakness? Can there be a balance struck between the two?
Mantra: I focus on emphasizing my strengths rather than eliminating my weaknesses.