Are there fundamental, life changing differences between playing to your strengths or to your weaknesses? Should you just do what you love or focus on your flaws to correct them? When do you choose one way over the other?
Perhaps this story may shed some light on the matter.
One evening on parent teacher night a father was chatting with the Maths teacher about his boy and after a while he said to the teacher: – “So, do you think I should get him some coaching?”
The teacher replied:- “What is he good at?’
The father said, “No, I said, do you think I should get him some coaching?”
And again the teacher said:- “What is he good at?”
The father then said, “No, no, I meant do you think I should get him some Maths coaching?
The teacher asked again:- “I know, I heard you, but what I am asking is what is he good at?
And this time the father replied:- “He is good at basketball. He loves it”.
“Then have him coached in that.”
“Why? He is already good at that. He is no good at Maths”.
And the teacher said;- “How do you think he will feel if you focus on something he is not good at, and is unlikely to be? Focus on something he is good at, develop that, encourage that”.
The father went away, thoughtful. He had his son coached in basketball.
Six months later the father rang the Maths teacher and thanked her for her wisdom. His son was Captain of the basketball team and his grades had improved in every subject, not just Maths. He was a happy boy.
When you make a choice to play to your strengths, you tap into what you are naturally good at. It uplifts you. You do it because you want to – you love it! Your rewards include joy, happiness, enrichment and expansion. That’s life changing in a good way.
When you make a choice to focus on your weaknesses in order to correct them, you do it because you have to, you need to get out of a pickle! Your rewards may be a sense of achievement, accomplishment and improvement. Yet does it ever taste as sweet as the rewards from excelling at something that is really joyous for you?
The parent-teacher story is a true story told to me by the Maths teacher. I would love to hear from you if you have any stories like this. Have you been inspired or encouraged to take one particular course of action over another? What was the outcome? Did you play to your strengths or to your weaknesses?
Credit: ‘Sunrise over Sydney Harbour Bridge 22/7/15’ Copyright Ruth Howard