We all have our own personal weaknesses. For some of us, these weaknesses are caused by the lack of a skill or certain knowledge. Not knowing how to drive a car or being a bad cook, are certainly weaknesses. Other weaknesses come down to our personalities. Some people are shy, overconfident or temperamental. Weaknesses can also be in the form of physical or mental handicaps such as a learning disability or being restricted to a wheelchair. Some of our weaknesses are obvious to others and some of our weaknesses can be kept hidden from plain view. Weaknesses can be minor inconveniences easily avoided in daily life or they can be major obstructions requiring us to reorganize our lives to compensate for them.
Weaknesses don’t have to remain that way, however. As I will explain in this post, any weakness you experience in your life can be transformed into a personal strength. By taking measures to take crippling weaknesses and turn them into some of your most empowering attributes you can avoid the pain and misery they cause you.
I have weaknesses just like any other human being on this planet. Most of these weaknesses I either have or am in the process of, turning them into strengths. To do this I have found three different methods to turn what you once saw as a weakness into a strength. Although most of my weaknesses are nowhere near the magnitude of challenges some people can overcome, these three methods are fairly universal and could be applied to almost any weakness you want to transform.
Method One: Use Them For Growth
The first method is the one I currently advocate a lot on this blog, and that is to use your weaknesses for areas of growth. If your deficiency is in lacking a certain skill or knowledge, then improving your ability in that area would be the easiest way to turn it into a strength. If you are uncomfortable at public speaking, joining an organization like Toastmasters can be an excellent way to turn that weakness into a strength.
A lot of self-help authors have written about why you shouldn’t bother turning your weaknesses into strengths, but instead focus on improving your current strengths. Although this is a valid point, whether or not something is a personal strength for you should never be one of the major questions for you to ask if you aren’t sure whether to pursue an idea or not. Whether you are passionate about improving that area and whether improving that area would impact your quality of life most are the two major questions.
Using your weaknesses as opportunities is a great way to turn them into strengths. Although each of us have certain ingrained talents towards certain areas of our life, I think you might surprise yourself with your ability to turn what you previously believed was a weakness into a strength.
Method Two: Add Authenticity
I recently stumbled across this post about credibility by the people over at Trizle. Basically the post illustrates how you can utilize your weaknesses, and recast them in a positive light to make you seem more credible and authentic. The example they use is that a restaurant that is small does best to admit this fact and point out how being a small restaurant can be cozy.
I understand this principle firsthand. When I was originally setting up this website I knew I wanted to write about personal development articles, but I was worried that my age (I was 17 at the time) would cause people to discount what I had written. To my surprise, when I put my age publicly on my About page, I actually received an overwhelmingly high degree of support. Although I have received a few detractors, the majority of comments that make mention of my age have been incredibly supportive. In this case what I had previously perceived as a weakness was actually one of my strengths.
Method Three: Get a New Perspective
Often you can turn a weakness into a strength simply by changing your perception of that weakness. By viewing the weakness in a different light you may discover that it actually enhances your other strengths. This can sometimes be the best approach to transform a weakness you have no ability to physically change, such as a disability or something that happened in the past.
By looking at your weaknesses in a different light, you may discover that they actually are a strength. If others mistreated you when you were younger, that may have made you a stronger person. If you had a learning disability in school that may have built up your ability to persevere when things get difficult.
Weakness is ultimately just a label, it isn’t an aspect of reality. Something is a weakness because you decide it is a weakness. By changing the way you communicate your weaknesses to yourself that can often be the most powerful way to change them into your personal strengths. Life can either be difficult because of all the obstacles and weaknesses you have to overcome or it can be a grand adventure because of the challenges and opportunities that await you. You decide.