How to Focus on Your Strengths Instead of Your Weaknesses
Written by Regular Contributor, Catherine Beard
I'm sure you've thought to yourself more than once that you should be good at the things you're not.
We all have our strengths and our weaknesses, yet for some reason, we focus our time and attention on improving the things that we're maybe not so good at.
I’m not the greatest at striking up conversations with strangers and wish I could assert myself in social situations, and maybe I could if I put in the effort to get better at it, but the fact is that it's just not one of my strengths. I’ve started coming to terms with the fact that there are certain things I am naturally not good at, and might never be good at.
Of course, I'm not saying these things can't be learned or improved upon, but perhaps we are not using our energy wisely when we focus on improving our weaknesses.
What if instead we focused on enhancing the skills we already have and making them even more beneficial to ourselves and those around us?
I know that there are plenty of other things I’m good at such as making people feel comfortable and calmer, and I haven’t exactly suffered because of what I consider to be a weakness during my lifetime.
So how can we make sure we're not letting our weaknesses consume us?
How can we identify our strengths and improve those that we already have? Keep on reading to find out!
Figuring out your strengths
Maybe you're reading this and thinking, 'I don't even know what the heck my strengths are!' That's totally understandable. A lot of times our focus goes to what we're not good, and we overlook the things we're really freaking good at.
One of my favorite resources for figuring out your strengths is the VIA Character Strengths Survey. The survey is free and you'll just need to create an account to access it.
Once you've taken the survey, you'll be able to identify your top five character strengths. For example, mine are learning, optimism, humor/playfulness, curiosity, social intelligence.
The survey will also explain what each of these mean and how they show up in your life.
Enhancing and embracing your strengths
Once you've identified your strengths, start to think about how they combat your weaknesses. For example, if you're not good at sticking to a routine but one of your strengths is curiosity, consider how curiosity and learning new ways to do things might actually be more beneficial to you than sticking to a routine.
Also think about how you can start to use your strengths more in your everyday life. The thing is, you're probably more likely to enjoy your daily life if you're actually putting your strengths to good use - after all, it means you're embracing what you're naturally good at!
Consider how your strengths might play into your job, hobbies, and relationships. For some examples of how to use your strengths check out 24 ways to put your strengths to work and even more ways to use your character strengths.
Moving past insecurities
Of course it can be easy to fall into the trap of comparison when we see someone else who is better at something than us (or at least we perceive it that way), which can cause us to overlook our own talents. Try keeping a list of your strengths in a place you'll see it often so that you are constantly reminded of them.
When you feel insecure because you think you're not good at something, realize that you have the power to both enhance your strengths and improve your weaknesses. Also keep in mind that what you consider to be a weakness might be seen as a strength to someone else.
Lastly, remember that you don't put other people down for the things they're not good at (or at least, you shouldn't). You marvel at other people's strengths, right? Here's your friendly reminder to do the same for yourself.
What are your top strengths? How can you embrace them in your daily life? Tell us in the comments below!
Catherine Beard is the blogger behind The Blissful Mind which helps others find contentment in their daily lives through mindfulness, self-care, and healthy lifestyle tips. She is also pursuing her Master's degree in Health & Wellness Coaching. You'll find her drinking peppermint tea, exploring the Pacific Northwest, and watching Parks & Recreation for the millionth time.