Recently I read your ‘Weakness of Strength’ Theory post and was really moved. I came to his realization myself several years ago- that the years I spent banging my head against the wall over some ‘flaw’ may be an expression of a strength in disguise. I then shifted focus from fixing these flaws to leveraging my strengths, and a whole new world opened up.
You described the novelist Ivan Turgenev’s dinner party chaos and his meticulous writing style. This is a great example of some of the ‘flip sides’ of hidden strengths that some of us unusual types overlook when we focus on our flaws. Others I’ve found include:
- Anxious people are often meticulous and good at scenario planning. Though it may feel horrible to them, their ability to see into the future and envision every possible thing that could go wrong is invaluable for strategy-setting and long-term planning. They arrive early and overprepared, reassuring clients and employers that they’re on top of their game, even if they’re unaware of it themselves.
- ADHD is a handy tool for entrepreneurs. Though most of us think of ADHD sufferers as being distracted, they’re also great at multitasking, able to switch effortlessly from one issue to another. For entrepreneurs, this superpower allows them to effectively handling a production crisis, an employee meltdown, a sales snafu and a financial hiccup without batting an eyelash.
- Those who are easily distracted are most likely to hold their focus for extraordinarily long periods of time. This is counterintuitive, but the very people who flit like butterflies from topic to topic are the same ones who can sit, focused and rapt and unending, for 12 hours a day. They are the ones who don’t feel the exhaustion or hunger or affects us mere mortals. This hypomanic state is great for artists and entrepreneurs and others in certain stressful positions.
- People who are chronically late are highly productive. Chronic lateness is often a sign that they perceive time differently- an hour is not an hour is not an hour. These people can slow time to a crawl, examining every second and packing every minute with focused attention. Losing ‘track’ of time is simply a mismatch between the world’s time and their own.
- People who are forgetful or scattered are highly conceptual and good at pattern recognition. The brain can either take in and retain a small amount of information, or else it can scan for patterns and discard unnecessary info. Expect that scattered and forgetful types are able to synthesize massive amounts of information to find patterns and secrets that no one else can see.
These are just a few of my observations from the Weakness of Strength Theory. Hopefully those who’ve gone through life thinking that something is wrong with them can take comfort in knowing that they have a rare, undiscovered gift.