Are You Turning Your Strengths Into Weaknesses?

I’m reading a couple books on the topic of change and strengths and how our brains work. I’ve discussed both books and their views and what my take on each book and view is.

I’ve been rereading a couple of interesting books on the topic of change and strengths and how our brains work.

The first, Now Discover Your Strengths, takes the approach that we are strong in some areas and weak in others, and that the only way to approach life is to focus on our strengths, because we cannot change our weaknesses into strengths. Our strengths are hardwired into us, and our weaknesses are just things our brains are not wired for, and we can’t change that.


I was interested in this view and found it convincing because the data came from the Gallup organization, and the book was written by Gallup employees. They’ve done a lot of research and have some convincing statistics to back up their claims.

Then I started reading Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain, which basically says that you can use your mind to change your brain, that your brain can indeed “rewire” itself, and that there is scientific evidence for all of this.

Again, this book was pretty convincing because the research and information it presents come from a group of neuroscientists working with the Dalai Lama. Their proof and statistics are pretty impressive, too.

So which is true? Are your weaknesses hardwired, or can your brain develop new connections and make you able to do things you never could before?

I’m sorry. I don’t know.

But I think the evidence on both sides is convincing enough to suggest this strategy. Play to your strengths, because you can, as Now Discover Your Strengths says, improve in those areas and make them into super-strengths. Focus on becoming as strong in those parts of your life as you can. If you’re strong, become stronger. It’s doable. That much is certain.

But also work on learning and changing and building your brain. If you’re weak in a particular area, get some training or spend more time practicing. Learn more about what you don’t know, and try to train your brain in new areas. There is some pretty convincing evidence that this works.

I think the best solution is to assume both things are true – that you can get stronger by focusing on your strengths, but that you can make at least some progress in your weaknesses. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you are relying on your weaknesses more than your strengths, but give both sets of muscles a workout.

I think this is one of those situations where you really have nothing to lose. At worst, you’re working on weak areas and they’re not getting as strong as you had hoped. That is disappointing, but as long as you’re playing to your strengths, it’s not disabling.

At best, you are becoming much better in areas that have been perpetual weaknesses for you and those areas are becoming strengths.

It’s hard to imagine a downside to this.

Thanks to The Next 45 Years for featuring this post in the Personal Development Carnival, to Widow’s Quest for including this post in the Carnival of Positive Thinking, to for including this in the Total Mind and Body Fitness Carnival, to E3 Success Systems for featuring this post in the Carnival of Success Principles, and to Working at Home on the Internet for inclusion in the Working at Home Blog Carnival.

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