Time to let go of the things you suck at
23 July 2019
I keep doing things that I hate. I strive for perfection and when I stumble over a hurdle (a weakness) I pour all my time and energy into trying to get better at it. I want to prove to myself that I can do it, and that I can overcome the anxiety and all the negative emotions of feeling like I’m not good at something. I’m sure that this is an all too familiar feeling for many of us.
I was told about Marcus Buckingham and I watched a video that introduced me to his theory that goes against what we’ve always believed which is, “The more you do something the better you’ll get at it”. There is a widely accepted view that in order to grow and improve your skillset you should put your focus on the areas in which you are the weakest. Chances are if you found yourself at extra lessons after school, it was for the subject you were failing (or at least your worst performer).
In the video Buckingham talks about an experiment where he presented a number of parents with a report card. The report card has various grades on it ranging from A’s to F’s. He went on to ask these parents which subjects deserved the most attention from the student. 77% of them zoned in on the ‘F’ subject. And honestly, this is what most of us would do. But Buckingham presents a completely different perspective on the topic. His view is that we should be putting all our energy and creativity into the ‘A’ subject. Why spend all your efforts on trying to turn an ‘F’ into an ‘E’ (and be miserable while doing it) when you can hone in on your strengths and do what comes naturally.
It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t ever work on those weaknesses but the main principal is to focus on your strengths, because it’s there that you’ll gain the most rewards. You will be more productive and engaged in the things that you do in your personal and work life. This way of thinking goes against everything that’s ingrained in us, but putting effort and energy into our strengths sounds like a better use of time, and certainly a happier path.
Over the years he’s written a few books and created a very well known strengths finder test called the “Clifton Strengths Finder”. It’s a paid for test but I found a pretty good one you can take for free here: https://high5test.com/ (It was scary accurate)
You can also check out the video I mentioned below, where he does a much better job of explaining it than me. It’s really worth the 10min watch. It’s changed my perspective on how I approach self improvement.