The World Wants You to Focus On Your Weaknesses. Focus On Your Strengths.

I’ve written about this before, but one of the most widespread misconceptions in writing is the idea that you become successful by focusing on your weaknesses. By identifying every single thing we do wrong and correcting it, we’ll be perfect at writing! Right? Most writing workshops and critique groups operate from this point of view.

Career development and performance reviews at companies sometimes make this same mistake of disregarding people’s talents. Managers identify their employees’ weaknesses and ask them to focus on improving them, sometimes assigning them to projects that will get the employees to do more of what they’re naturally bad at so that they can improve.

In our day-to-day lives, we get messages all the time about identifying and fixing our weaknesses. For one thing, it’s a common strategy companies use to sell things. They remind people that they’re overweight and that it’s a big problem in order to sell them weight loss products, or they point out that their living room doesn’t look like one in a home décor magazine in order to sell them furniture.

Many of us, unfortunately, often fall into the bad habit of focusing on the weaknesses of the people closest to us and trying to reform them. The people who love us may be reminding us of our shortcomings all the time.

 

 

Focusing on weaknesses leads to mediocrity.

The writer who only concentrates on eliminating their mistakes may end up with lifeless, technically correct stories.

The company that only focuses on developing its employees’ weak spots will be like a track and field team on which the hurdler does the pole vault and the shot put thrower runs the sprints. That’s not the way you win.

The person who only fixates on their shortcomings neglects all of their natural-born charms and talents.

There’s a popular quote, frequently and incorrectly attributed to Albert Einstein, that expresses it really well:

Everybody is a genius. but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

 

Focusing on your strengths leads to distinctive success.

The most important way to improve your writing is to figure out what kinds of stories you love, and what you excel at in prose, and do more of that.

The best way companies can succeed is by identifying their employees’ strengths and encouraging them to do more of that. (There are managers at my workplace right now who do this, and it’s so smart.)

On a personal level, knowing what you’ve got going for you and working it will make you irresistible and unstoppable.

 

 

 

But here’s the most important thing:

Focusing on your strengths will give you a happier life.

Of course, it’s always good to improve at things, and learning new things throughout our lifetime keeps our brains sharp and clear.

But when we focus too much on our weaknesses, we fall into the trap of thinking we won’t be worthwhile until we are perfect in every way, which is pure insanity.

When we spend time doing the things we’re best at, and we highlight our best qualities, that’s when we feel good, and no one can resist our sparkle.

And while we’re at it, we can help other people recognize and focus on their unique talents and their best qualities, too.

 

The World Wants You to Focus on Your Weaknesses. Focus On Your Strengths. #writing #success #motivation

 

I may do a few posts in the future to encourage you to think about your strengths: as a writer, in your day job, and as a person. It’s important stuff to think about, and it has the extra advantage of being really fun.

Do you feel pressured to dwell on your weaknesses? Have you seen great results from focusing on what you’re best at? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! Thanks for reading!

 

 

21 Replies to “The World Wants You to Focus On Your Weaknesses. Focus On Your Strengths.”

  1. Absolutely loved this post. Modern culture does encourage us to focus on our weaknesses and not our strengths.

    I’ve learned to give myself permission to suck when I write. There will be a time for editing, but the first draft is not it. And I also learned when to let the manuscript go. Perfection is a myth in writing, someone, somewhere will always find fault with a piece of writing no matter who it is.

    I just focus on what I know readers of my work loves 🙂

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Inge! You are so smart to not worry about first drafts being sucky. Mr. Donovan likes to say that I am great at revising, which is a sweet way of saying my first drafts are horrible 😀 Only the final draft matters!

      “I just focus on what I know readers of my work loves 🙂” — exactly. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Great post! I’ve been thinking about this very thing recently. For the past year or so, I’ve been writing less absurdly, and that just isn’t me. It has slowed me down and caused me to obsess over every single word I put down on the page. Now, I’m getting back to my roots, and writing is more fun again.

  3. Excellent post. I” tempted to focus on my weaknesses more than my strengths. I think it’s because I am a perfectionist. I tend to beat myself up if something doesn’t turn out the way I expect. But it doesn’t help in the long run. Focusing on my strengths does. So I am trying to be more positive and value myself as a writer and as a person.

  4. When I was much younger my Dad told me there was no need to tear myself down because there were plenty of people in the world willing and happy to do that for me! Thanks for your inspirational reminder. I love reading your posts.

  5. Loved this post so much! I love how it’s not just about focusing on your strengths, but letting yourself comfortable to make mistakes and not feel desperate and obsessed to correct them. Putting it all together, it returns to us writers the fun of writing, which we usually lose when we start obsessing too much. That happened to me and I believe it’s quite common. When you stop focusing on your weaknesses and start focusing on your strengths, writing becomes much more fun again and that’s when the best ideas and best words just flow out of your head. Thanks so much for sharing with us, Bryn! I’m new to your blog and I’m loving it!

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