Embrace your inner weakness to unlock your true strength
Last week I had a lesson with Diego Del Morao where I learned just how much I suck at flamenco guitar. And after the lesson ended I was more excited and optimistic about my playing than I've ever been.
- How many times have you gotten defensive when someone tried to help?
- Are you embracing your weaknesses, bringing them to the forefront and investing in them?
- Or do you try to bury them as deep as you can and try to forget them?
Here's a song from his latest album to listen
Going into the lesson I thought I was pretty good. Not great mind you, but not horrible. So I was a bit taken aback when Diego basically told me I need to work on the absolute most basic forms of flamenco rhythm.
Yet that wasn't really news to me. I knew it deep down, but I was also in denial. I was focusing on the 80% I was good at, and neglecting the 20% that tainted everything else.
It was the tiny fly in an otherwise delicious bowl of soup.
Your weaknesses are holding you back
Whether you admit it or not, the stuff you are bad at: you're bad at. It's there, a constant, and it will actually get worse unless you acknowledge it. Acknowledging it brings it out to the open where it can then be dealt with. Don't let it fester in the shadows.
So what are your weaknesses? What is stopping you from being great? What is slowing down your success?
Here's how to find out
- What is it that you want? Find out what your exact goal is. Fat loss? Improve energy levels? Be more fit?
- How do you get there? What needs to happen for you to achieve that? Eat better food? Sleep earlier? Start running?
- Why aren't you doing it? Identify the clear causes. Don't know how to cook? Don't know how to sleep early? Don't have a running plan?
With those 3 steps you should have a pretty clear idea on what's holding you back. And once you've broken it down, you can see that even seemingly big problems can have simple and easy solutions.
To use my example
- What is it that you want? I want to enjoy playing flamenco guitar at a high level
- How do you get there? By practicing on the areas I'm weakest in.
- Why aren't you doing it? I chose not to because it's difficult.
Now that you know the What, How and Why the path to achieving what you want is laid you for you to follow.
Your weaknesses are your greatest asset
No, right now they aren't worth much. But they are the best investment opportunities you have. Putting even a little time and energy into bringing up your weaknesses will yield amazing benefits.
How? Let's take the example of a failing restaurant which you have been tasked with rescuing - you have $5000. This restaurant doesn't attract many customers and those who come once never come back.
Here's what you know about the failing restaurant
- The food is amazing. It's absolutely some of the best food you've ever had.
- The menu is diverse and interesting.
- The service is terrible partly due to lack of staff training. The whole place is dirt and disarray: missing silverware, stained linen, an ungodly, persistent stench.
Which investment would you spend that $5000 on, that you think will turn this place around?
- Continued education for the chefs so the food is even better.
- Hire a team to improve the presentation of the menu and find even more meal ideas.
- Clean the whole place up, get some new silverware and eliminating the source of the stench?
You don't really need an MBA to figure this one out.
In the same way, people often focus in fat loss on the stuff they already know well: exercises they're already familiar with, or foods they already like. This can only get you so far. Keep doing what you're already doing, and you'll pretty much end up where you already are. Take a good hard look at what you're not good at, not already doing, and maybe a little afraid to do or put off by. Then take a lesson from Arnold: "When I see a problem, I don't run away, I run straight at it."
That's why I was, and am, very excited about my future with flamenco guitar. I liked how I played before, and now I know I can play even better if I put the time and effort in. It honestly would have been a disappointment if I was told that my playing was terrific, because deep down I knew it wasn't.
So start finding those glaring holes in your game, dedicate a bit of time and energy and be amazed at the improvement.
What are your weaknesses and how do you plan to turn them into strengths?