All through our life, we read so many motivational stories and poems, we listen to many inspirational talks and we watch so many inspiring movies. But how many of them actually stay with us? We talk about it to friends and family for some time and then, it is gone! Some of them stay with us for a short period of time and then we have to listen to the same talk again in order to reinstate it. And some are gone the very same day.
As a kid, I always found it difficult to remember the moral of the stories that I read (It was fun to remember the story, but moral….was the difficult part and I felt it took away the fun element from the story). I guess I passed on the same gene to my kid and she also found it very difficult to remember the moral of the stories she read. She was smart enough to come up with a solution. She would tell the same moral for all the stories she read and her favorite one was “Work while you work, play while you play! ”
But then, there are some stories or statements, that stay with you for a lifetime. There is a voice within you screaming “hold on to it baby.. it’s worth keeping….” the moment you hear it. I dont know why that happens, but it does happen. Here, I am sharing one such statement that is totally “keep-worthy”.
I have been thinking of writing about it for some time now. Wrote so many drafts and discarded them because I did not know the best way to present it. I tried to do it using a story with imaginary characters, as a short poem, as a conversation between two people etc. But none of them seemed to have the impact that I wanted it to have. So finally i decided to tell it point blank.
I was at a friend’s place and we were discussing the behavior of a particular kid who had attended our workshop that day. During the discussions we realised that the point that we mentioned as his strength was exactly his weakness. I was taken aback at first. My friend then told me that this is something her dad kept telling her all the time.
“Your biggest strength is your biggest weakness”
The moment I heard this, I heard that voice within me screaming ” It is keep-worthy….”
Sounds like an oxymoron , doesn’t it? It took me sometime to analyse it and accept it.
This is how I analyzed it:
I am often told “you are a dreamer” as a compliment and as a criticism.
The same person has told me:
” Wow! You don’t stop until you get your things done. You are so focussed. Keep it up! “
” you just keep nagging till you get your things done. You are so irritating.”
I tell my kid ” you are so polite and sensitive to other’s feelings , sweetheart! “
” why are you so sensitive and polite to others? You let them take advantage of you all the time”?
I tell my friend ” you are such a listener. I love talking to you.”
” you are so boring. You only listen.”
I tell another friend ” You are so organised and planned. Thats wonderful”
” I dont like to travel with you because you plan everything. There is no scope for surprises.”
Do these statements ring a bell ….
So is “being a dreamer” my strength or my weakness? Is ” not stopping until I get what I want ” my strength or my weakness? Is ” being polite and sensitive ” a strength or a weakness?
- The same quality that manifests as a strength at a point can become a weakness at another.
- This realization has helped me understand myself and the people around me much better.
- It has helped me accept people as they are.
- It has helped me look at the qualities in my kids in a different way.
If my kid is being very stubborn about the game that he wants to play and gives valid reasons as to why he wants to play only that game, I let him do it. Earlier, I would have labelled him as a stubborn kid with “stubbornness” as his weakness. Now, I know that this stubbornness in him will help him get what he wants because he will not stop at anything lesser. So I tell him that I let him play that game because I found the reasons he gave, valid.
When someone tells me ” wow! you are a risk taker” I make an effort to be aware of the issues that could crop up when the “risk taker” in me becomes my weakness. And I make an effort to assess the risks a little better. I am as careful about my strengths as I am about my weaknesses.
I am not talking about the really negative qualities like addiction, cheating, lying, not obeying the rules, etc. Those are weaknesses that have to dealt with strongly. And they cannot be considered as his strength, no matter what the circumstances. They are bound to get him in trouble sooner or later.
Family can be your biggest strength and your biggest weakness. For an organisation, the employees can be its biggest strength and its biggest weakness.
So, be aware of your strength and make sure you know that the same could become a weakness.
When you point your fingers at the weaknesses of a friend/colleague/child , remember that it could be his biggest strength elsewhere. So you can talk to him about that quality being a weakness with reference to that particular situation.
YOUR BIGGEST STRENGTH IS YOUR BIGGEST WEAKNESS!
This statement is definitely keep-sake.