In a previous post (Strengths – the key to happiness) I discussed the importance of identifying and utilising your strengths, as the key to happiness. But the inevitable question then comes – “what about my weaknesses?”
To answer this question I would like to share a truly meaningful analogy provided by Dr. Robert Biswas-Diener in a recent workshop. He likens weaknesses to the hull of a boat. It doesn’t matter how great the boat, the hull will always leak. The amount of attention you should pay to your weaknesses depends on how much water they let in.
- Sometimes the leak is only minor, and you just end up sloshing around in a bit of water in the bottom of the boat. These weaknesses can be ignored – there is really no harm to come from them.
- Sometimes the weakness creates a bigger leak, and some attention must be paid to prevent the water from rising, maybe a bilge pump or bucket is needed to drain the water out.
- Other times the weakness is so great that it threatens to sink the boat, and at these times the boat must be taken from the water, put into dry dock and completely repaired.
So, the message here is that you need to deal effectively with your weaknesses to make sure they don’t sink you. But focus alone on the weaknesses won’t move you anywhere. You need sails to propel you forward, and these are your strengths.
Your strengths are where you should invest your time and attention because they provide a much
better return on investment. These are the things that will help you explore new lands and have great adventures. Trying to make minor improvements in things that really don’t matter is a poor use of limited time and energy. Developing strengths, which energise yourself and others, and which will make you feel happy, fulfilled and productive is a very wise investment indeed.