We’ve been programmed since our K-12 days to obsess over our weaknesses, or like we used to say when I was a kid, “what you suck at“, because for some odd reason researchers and academics are obsessed at finding the smartest students and separating them from the “dumbest” students, and constantly reminding the “dumb” students how inferior they truly are.
Okay I’m be facetious with this statement, but it’s true on some levels. Standardized tests separates the “smart” students from the “dumb” students. I remember students asking “what did you get on the SAT exam?” like it meant something beyond our academic lives.
What can I tell you about my SAT score?
Welp…I slept through part of my exam. Yes, you read that correctly. I was a 16-year-old who was overstressed, overworked, too ambitious for my own good, and eager to get into the adult world. So I decided to be a “brainiac” and go to a 18-and-over nightclub the night before my SAT exam, telling my parents a huge lie about where I was so that I could go party in Riverside, California with my girls. Now, being that I was a lousy test taker who suffered from test anxiety, drawing a mental blank until after I walked away from the exam and all of the answers would come flooding in, the last place I needed to be the night before this huge college-option-limiting-exam was in a nightclub (where if you read this post thoroughly you can see that I was too young to be there in the first place). But I went, had fun, danced nonstop, and paid the price the next day.
The good thing for me is that I was stronger in other areas beyond my SAT exam, AP exams, and ACT exam—yeah I didn’t shine brightly on those either (because I would blank out in sheer fear of failing). But when you looked at the rest of my academic “resume” I made up for my weak test taking skills and my lack of care during my freshman and first-half of my sophomore years in high school (yeah that’s another story for another day). Every university that I applied to I was accepted, and that made me extremely proud.
Some people are better test takers. Some people have strong “book smarts” but their common sense is hanging out somewhere in the toilet—waiting for a flush.
I was a B-minus high school student with A-plus common sense. So things balanced out and by the time I entered college, I found my rhythm and what I was good at, and soon I became an A-student (yes, with A-plus-plus common sense). *Smile*
Do you know a habit and skill that the most successful people in the world practice exceptionally well?
They focus solely on their strengths (and improve upon them) and ignore or delegate everything where they are weak.
The most successful people aren’t the smartest people. There are plenty of homeless, broke, impoverished, and destitute geniuses around the world.
The successful people surround themselves with other smart people who are stronger in the areas where they are weakest and they rely upon those individuals to do all of the things that they can’t, while they focus on the things and areas where they shine brilliantly. They don’t sit back obsessing over their weaknesses.
The same applies to athletes, artists, and musicians. They keep improving upon their areas of strength. Oftentimes weaker areas either strengthen with the pull of the stronger areas, or they ultimately become inconsequential. Either way at the end of the day it doesn’t matter, because the focus is on improving upon the strength.
Look at your personal strengths. Write them down.
If you’re clueless about some of your strengths, then I strongly recommend that you read and take Gallup’s Strengthfinders, so you can get down to the nitty gritty.
Now reach out to a friend, family member, or associate and ask them to share with you what they believe to be some of your strengths.
Write them down. Compare them to your list. Do you see any similarities? Were there some strengths that they shared that you hadn’t considered?
How can you use your strengths to accomplish your personal and professional goals?
What are some of your short-term goals that you would like to achieve this year?
Look at your list of strengths and now spend the next few minutes outlining how you will use them to achieve these goals this year. Get to work. Your life is waiting on you!