Published: 26th September 2018
How to identify your inner strengths and excel in life
Everyone is talented at something. It is said that every person can do one thing better than 10,000 people. The trick is to find out what that one thing is
Many centuries ago, the great Chinese philosopher Meng Tzu said, “Those who follow the part of themselves that is great will become great. Those who follow the part that is small will become small.” Simply put, it means ‘Focus on your strengths’ and that it is worthwhile to invest time and energy on something that has the potential to become great in you, otherwise it’s an absolute waste of time.
Parents of school-going children were shown reports of their child’s progress report and asked what they would spend time and attention on subjects that the child did well in or subjects that they did badly in.
Expectedly, a majority of the parents said that they would focus on subjects that the child did poorly in.
Tom Rath in his book Strengths Finder 2.0 says, “Parents and teachers reward excellence with apathy” when they should be investing more time in the areas where a child has the most potential for greatness.’ In reality, that rarely happens. We focus only on areas where we are weak, with the misguided belief that weakness correction will make us all-rounded and successful. However, the problem with all-roundedness is that it makes you mediocre.
Rath goes on to explain the case of Rudy Ruettiger, who was passionate about football. He wanted to get admission into Notre Dame to play football. He was rejected three times, but he tirelessly kept trying and was finally accepted and soon, he made it to the practice squad. But he took a severe beating every day for two years and because of his diminutive size and obvious lack of talent, his coach never allowed him to play for two seasons.
During his final year, Rudy was allowed to play in the final game, that too only for a few minutes. His teammates persuaded the coach to put him on when they knew Notre Dame was happily poised for victory. He went in, made a single dramatic tackle and became a hero.
This story speaks a lot about perseverance, grit, and determination. Rudy had to spend thousands of hours at practice for those few seconds of actual play. Incidentally, he never played another match and went on to become a successful motivational speaker. Clearly, that’s where his talent was.
Now, the question is: Can you really compensate for the lack of talent with hard work, grit, and perseverance? Perhaps you can. But is it worth it? The initial rejections and lack of progress might erode your self-worth and this might spill over and affect other areas of your life and get in the way of other successes.
Everyone is talented at something. It is said that every person can do one thing better than 10,000 people. The trick is to find out what that one thing is. Look for clues, like what comes naturally to you or find something that other people seem to notice that you have a flair for.