Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe says “By nature we have no defect that could not become a strength, no strength that could become a defect.”
Wow! Apart from telling us exactly how it is, it certainly gives me encouragement as well.
Knowing that if I want to change or improve one of my weaknesses (and let’s face it we all have several), it’s great, but to know that I can improve one of my weaknesses to such an extent that it becomes a strength – now that’s a great incentive and quite frankly a task of mammoth proportions.
I am one of those people who would rather work on my strengths, to make them that much more effective and I am all for ‘outsourcing’ my weaknesses to someone else. You see my weaknesses are someone else’s strength so to me it makes perfectly logical sense to let someone else deal with those.
I continue however, to have this little niggling voice (you know the one that sits on your shoulder and whispers all sorts of things in your ear) that keeps telling me that although I am ‘outsourcing’ my weakness, I am also ‘giving up’ my power!
Perhaps on some level that is true, but I am also very aware of the fact that ‘outsourcing’ works for me, as it enables me to get on with what I love to do and what I am good at. It certainly reduces my stress levels (and probably my blood pressure too) as I don’t have to struggle with issues that I am not comfortable with or that I don’t fully understand . . . but perhaps, one day when I am not busy with something else and the mood takes me, I will work on those particular defects and weaknesses. Yeah right!
What I really want to do is chat about the second part of Van Goethe’s statement – the one that goes “no strength that could become a weakness”. Now this is the bit that really concerns me – in fact it damn near terrifies me!
I think that many of us, particularly those of us who own our own small little businesses and who consistently work long hours as we attempt to make a decent living and perhaps even a difference – we are in particular danger of getting to the point where it is our very strength that defeats us!
Oh, I can see all the blank looks on the faces of people who have no clue about what it is that I am talking about.
This is directed at all of us who work, we say for our families, but to such an extent and with such focus that we lose sight of those that we love, so much so that we actually lose them. The result is that our flourishing business is achieved at the cost of our wives, or husbands and our children and loved ones.
It is directed at all of us who bring about our own ill health because we refuse to take time out to rest and rejuvenate.
It is directed at those of us who are so focused on what we do and what we are good at, that it takes over our lives and devours us and we forget to live and exist merely to be a slave to that particular strength.
So I guess, the point of all of this is to take note of and be aware of the fact that our weaknesses can become our saving grace and our strengths could very well be the reason for our demise.
Be careful – very careful about which one you choose to pay the most attention to.