Knowledge Is Only Power If You Will It To Be – Failing And Accounting For Your Weaknesses

accounting for weakness
If any man said he had none, he would be lying. Even the idols of the personal development space, have weaknesses. You can call them quirks if you want, that’s a different discussion.

There is no one more devastating to disappoint than yourself. I had an idea, a vision, and I failed to follow through. I failed to account for my weaknesses, and it robbed me of my momentum. I relapsed into self-brainwashing with endless TV watching, although I managed to start helping out a little more.

Month to make a difference was supposed to be a life changing month for me, where I managed to shift the focus from myself by allowing myself to focus on helping others. Because of lack of preparation, and some inaction, all I’ve done is set a meeting with a volunteer manager and start piling clothes to give away. The meeting had to be postponed once despite me only having one day a week it wouldn’t work which was discouraging to say the least, but that’s no excuse.

Know Them

The first step to accounting for your weaknesses is of course; knowing them. In most cases, it’s a question of remembering rather than discovering something new. What got in your way the last time you attempted something similar? If you ask yourself that, you should be well on your way.

I have known for a very long time that I am terrible with preparations. That I have a tendency to postpone things longer than is healthy, and that I am prone to inaction. There are of course other things, but in the context of Month To Make A Difference these are the ones that matter.

Accept Them

The first step towards changing for the better, is admitting that you have room to improve. This doesn’t change here.
Once you’ve gotten to know your weaknesses, accept that you have them. Lose the frustration and the anger, or at least, direct it away from yourself, and strictly towards the specific weaknesses you have.

One thing to keep in mind is not to immediately assume something is a weakness. Sometimes it’s just an isolated incident where you made a bad decision.

Account For Them

This is where things get a little more complicated. Some weaknesses can be accounted for simply by making an effort to do so. If I had made an effort to prepare properly, knowing that I have a tendency to dismiss it as I find it tedious, I would have prepared properly. At other times it’s not so simple, but preparation is a key word to remember when thinking about how to overcome, or work around your weaknesses.

Of course if you’re worried about physical inadequacy, in many cases, training will suffice. But when you’re struggling with a weakness, there are times when working around it, rather than trying to change it, is more effective. That’s where the next, and final, step comes in.

Know And Play To Your Strengths

A little more uplifting than figuring out your weaknesses, but no less necessary. The most important thing to keep in mind is to forget outward comparisons. For this exercise it doesn’t matter whether you are good at something compared to someone else, it matters what you are good at compared to other things you are not so good at.

If you’re a good writer, but a terrible designer, hiring a designer is usually better to allow you to focus on what you’re already good at. In a sense this is a similar concept. You could call it internal outsourcing.. but in reality you are just approaching something in a way that suits you better. This is why acceptance is an important step, if you can accept your weakness, it will help you work around it whenever needed.

Let’s say you are terrible at auditory learning. Instead of investing hours upon hours into trying to better benefit from going to lectures, your time is better spent learning in a way that is more effective for you personally.

In the right circumstance, what others perceive to be weakness can be used as a strength as well. I have a tendency to get obsessed with something for short periods of time, then tend to slowly lose interest. Writing is a way for me to tie my obsessions together into something meaningful, or at least that’s my intention. That way I’m always building one skill for a longer period of time, regardless of what I’m currently obsessed with.

It’s also why I chose such a short timeframe for my project.. something I will continue to do, although hopefully with more success.

Getting A Job In A Week

The moral of this post is that I need to be taking more action. I’m making an effort to do more and talk less on this blog. At the very least, actually do some of the things that I talk about. So for that reason, and others, I’ve decided to work out my issues with employment this week. It might sound ambitious, but companies are starting to look for extra help towards the Christmas period, hopefully I’m not too late.

This time around I won’t be overly ambitious about the kind of work I’ll be doing, and physically show up, instead of just lazily sending applications to jobs I’m not really qualified for from my couch.

Picture by David Sim

4 Responses

  1. Randy November 19, 2013 / 2:28 am

    Damn Ragnar! I finally made the first comment!

    Great stuff that we could all probably apply to ourselves from time to time? (I know I could!)

    Ok, so…MTMAD was an effort for you to shift focus from yourself and to focus on helping others, right? Well, actually you did that…and although your tendency to postpone things and your proneness to inaction may have hampered the kickoff of the project, it still relied largely on many other people out there shifting their own focus from themselves and focusing on others.

    I’m sure there were people who committed to help then lost focus themselves, for whatever the reason…so, don’t beat yourself up too badly over it. It was a tremendous sentiment and I know it inspired others as well.

    Your writing does tie your obsessions into something meaningful and in a beautiful way so when you get that job this week, don’t work so much that you can’t write, ok?


    • ragnar November 19, 2013 / 3:09 pm

      Thanks Randy, and I will definitely still leave time for writing!

  2. Steve November 22, 2013 / 11:20 pm

    Hey Ragnar, great post. I’ve noticed that knowing your weaknesses can be a tough obstacle for some people. Personally, I’ve let some weaknesses go on for years simply because I didn’t recognize them. I have a friend who still has many weaknesses that he refuses to recognize. How are you suppose to overcome them if you don’t even recognize that they are there?

    I think you’re right to say that you should try and notice if it’s just an isolate incident. Sometimes the reason I give for not doing something isn’t an excuse – it’s a legitimate reason. It’s good not to confuse the two. I think it’s better to focus on real weaknesses rather than isolated incidents.

    • ragnar November 24, 2013 / 4:49 pm

      Yeah man, looks like we completely agree! I think accepting your weaknesses is a vital part to becoming as successful as you can be, and whenever people kind of brush over them in a second it confuses me. And yes sometimes it is difficult to seed out the true excuses, I guess the best way is to get used to seeding out excuses so that when you face an actual obstacle you instantly feel it in your gut.

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