Our personalities are made up with a collection of strengths and weaknesses. As humans, it’s our nature to face some struggles, but we also have the power to turn these weaknesses into strengths, simply by using them in the right way.
“I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by rejection,” said Leonardo da Vinci. “
“Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.” – Thomas Paine
Just looking at the number of successful people who had to overcome their own struggles to get to where they are today is enough to inspire anyone – people like Bill Gates, Stephen King, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, and Franklin Roosevelt. This Huffington Post article details some of the challenges these individuals, among others, faced on their way to fame and fortune – and shows just some of the ways you can use your own weaknesses or failings to your benefit.
7 Tips to Turn Your Weaknesses Into Strengths
While being shy can certainly make life more difficult, there are a number of advantages to embracing your shyness and turning it into a strength. Shy people tend to put more thought into every action, meaning they are careful decision makers and always weigh the pros and cons of a particular situation before reacting to it.
Being shy means you might also place more value on the relationships you’ve built because it’s more challenging for you to build new ones. This can be hugely beneficial for you, as you will have lasting relationships with loyal clients – who will feel they can trust and depend on you.
It might seem like selfishness is a very negative personality trait, but there are a number of benefits you can gain by embracing your selfish attitude in a healthy way. People tend to think that selfish people are inconsiderate of others, or greedy and bossy, but being preoccupied with your own well-being is actually a necessary survival instinct. Try to be self-focused rather than self-involved to turn this weakness into a strength.
By ensuring that your own needs are met before you stretch yourself to help others, you will be at your best. Selfish people tend to be more confident, happier, and more successful – and will excel in leadership roles. They don’t give up, and are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their dreams.
This trait goes hand-in-hand with selfishness – a healthy ego means you are more confident and more likely to take risks to achieve your goals. While having a big ego can certainly lead to more self-destructive tendencies, if you can keep your ego in check, you can certainly use it to your advantage.
Rather than being arrogant, a healthy ego means you aren’t afraid to show pride in your past accomplishments, and that you recognize your own self-worth. Your ego can help you you’re your fears and push through difficult times because you know what you are capable of and you have the confidence to keep going. These are important traits in both building business relationships and personal ones and can give you a competitive edge.
Reacting negatively to criticism can not only hinder your career growth, but it can also make it more difficult to successfully build networks. Build your emotional independence by initiating situations you might normally – increasing your tolerance for criticism and making you less sensitive to any negative feedback.
One perk to being overly sensitive is that you are probably a better partner than someone with less empathy, since you are always trying to talk and act in a way that won’t cause harm to someone else – you know just how awful that can feel. You’re also more perceptive than most people, and this awareness means you will probably notice things other people might not. This is helpful not only in business situations but also in an unfamiliar place or when dealing with an emergency.
Disordered anxiety is never a good thing, but a bit of healthy neuroticism definitely has advantages – especially in business. By harnessing those feelings of anxiety, neurotic people can benefit from this perceived weakness and act on some of those potentially negative emotions. Your nervous energy can drive you to meet deadlines without procrastinating and prepare sufficiently and meticulously for a report or presentation.
It can be a challenge to learn how to harness that anxiety, though. Overly anxious people are more likely to procrastinate more, and can easily become overwhelmed by everyday stresses. One technique that can help is developing a routine – ensuring that your day-to-day life is consistent, leaving you more time to focus on some of the additional stresses that may (and likely will) occur.
Motivational speakers and self-help gurus will tell you about the power of positive thinking, but there is a lot to be gained from a healthy dose of negative thinking, too. Pessimism helps you keep a clear head and prevents you from being overly trusting or excessively confident. A healthy amount of doubt will help push you to put in your best effort in any situation, and can help you feel more satisfied when you see a positive result.
Rather than catastrophizing, where imagining all of the potentially awful scenarios caused by a particular situation can lead you to feelings of hopelessness and depression, focus on what’s known as defensive pessimism. Defensive pessimism means setting lower expectations and determining specific courses of action in anticipation of an unwanted result, meaning that if the scenario doesn’t go as planned, you won’t be as negatively affected as you may have been if you’d adopted a more optimistic attitude.
While organization is thought to be one of the key indicators of a successful individual, there are some studies that show that messy people tend to be more creative, outside-the-box thinkers. Organization can be learned, but by embracing your messiness, you could be using your time more efficiently and enjoying more positive, healthy relationships and more success at work. Einstein once said, “if a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?”
Orderliness does have benefits, but if it’s not something that comes naturally to you, it’s better not to force it. Not only will you spend more time trying to get organized and less time on other priorities, there is also evidence that a tidy, uncluttered space restricts creativity and inspiration. Make the most of your creative mind, and don’t worry so much about trying to organize your space.
Do some self-evaluation and come up with a few weakness you might have. By developing an awareness of how your weaknesses might impact your personality and hinder you both personally and professionally, you are already one step closer to taking steps to turn these traits around and use them as opportunities for growth. Turning your weaknesses into strengths won’t make these any of these traits go away, but it will give you the tools to achieve your dreams – while being the best possible version of yourself.