How To Stop Sucking

Posted by on Oct 9, 2009 in Leadership, Legacy | 3 Comments

This might seem like common sense: the amount of talent an individual has is inversely proportional to the amount of preparation they need to create something excellent in their particular field.

Or more simply put, the more natural ability you have to play the piano, the less you have to practice to get good. Like I said; pretty common sense.

If this is logical, then the reverse would be equally true: the less talent you have at doing a particular activity, the more time it takes to present an acceptable product in that field.

Also fairly widely accepted. If you are bad at math, it takes you longer to do the homework.

Now, when confronted with these realities, it seems like the right thing is to focus more time on making our weaknesses better. After all, this is what we are taught our whole lives in school–if I suck at math, I spend the most time working on that subject.

But we are wrong.

Bohn AddMatic

Focusing on our weaknesses is usually completely futile. Let me ask you this: if you were a poor math student and spent an exorbitant amount of time studying in school, how are you at math today? Did you get really good at it?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

By focusing on what already comes naturally to us, we can get exponentially better. And, it’s a heck of a lot more fun.

This is basic strengths theory and we’ve discussed it a lot. But the topic I want to explore a bit more today is actually weakness. How do we approach weakness from a strengths perspective?

Here’s the key to understanding this paradox: a strengths-based philosophy NEVER means ignoring your weaknesses. Instead, it means managing them.

First, let’s accept it: we all suck at something. And even more, what we suck at sucks the life out of us.

So why do we keep doing these things!? How can we stop sucking?

If we want to get better, we have three possible responses to the problem of weakness:

  1. We stop ignoring our weaknesses and find somebody else to do the things we’re bad at for us.
  2. We stop ignoring our weaknesses and spend more time “practicing.” Even if you don’t have much natural ability at playing the piano, there’s no question that if you practice 8 hours a day, you WILL get better… if only a little.
  3. We stop ignoring our weaknesses and find a new position that actually uses our strengths.

The first option is by far the best. This is called using complementary talent and it’s an incredibly powerful and enriching experience for you and your new teammate. You get to do what you’re good at, and so do they–win-win.

Although not preferred, the second option is sometimes necessary for a time. Because if your job REQUIRES you to play the piano, if you want to keep your job you better damn well practice. The piano isn’t a perfect example, here–replace it with “communication,” “strategy,” “starting things,” “building relationships, “executing” or whatever your hang-up might be.

The third option seems drastic, and might be. Sometimes for the health of our souls, families, etc., we do need to quit our jobs and find something new. But many times your manager will be more than happy to accommodate a discussion about how you could better use your strengths by modifying your job description or making a lateral move.

So, stop sucking. Just do it!

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If you liked that post, then try these…

The Downside Of Diversity by Josh Allan Dykstra on May 21st, 2012

Triage Or Die by Josh Allan Dykstra on May 11th, 2008

Interview On Rideau’s Real Recognition Radio Show by Josh Allan Dykstra on January 22nd, 2013

3 Comments

  1. m
    October 9, 2009

    i love it!

    i was just talking to Pastor Wayne about this very thing yesterday. i’ll be passing this post on to him.

    and btw, i dig the new layout of your blog.

    -m

    Reply
  2. Paige Moore
    October 9, 2009

    Focusing on our weaknesses is usually completely futile. Nice article and gives inspiration. Thanks for sharing it.

    Reply
  3. Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast | Josh Allan Dykstra
    October 12, 2009

    […] my last post, we talked about how to stop sucking and some other fundamental elements of talent theory. Well, the ideas of natural talent can also be […]

    Reply

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