My Greatest Weakness
When I was a kid, my mom used to say "look at me" whenever she talked to me, and it annoyed the crap out of me.
It wasn't a matter of respect. She just knew that I have a difficult time remembering things. Okay, really, I had a difficult time listening.
And that's still my biggest weakness.
Requests such as "please empty the dishwasher," "take out the trash," and "do your homework," often went unfulfilled. Although I've gotten a lot better about it over time, little requests still fall through the cracks. Just ask my girlfriend.
I believe that my poor listening was in part due to my lack of maturity, something I gained with time. I also believe it was a lack of understanding. I now realize that the constant string of active thoughts, dialogues, and imaginary situations, either past or present, playing out in my head, which distract me from the present, are unique to me. This all day, every day, thought feeds my ability to be creative, to plan for the future, and to empathize with other people.
As I got older, my ability to actively listen to people improved, through deliberate practice. I'm great at maintaining eye contact when I speak, and I make lists and prioritize tasks for every aspect of my life. For me, if it doesn't go on a list, or it doesn't get done immediately, it doesn't get done.
Nowadays, some people see my immediacy or list-making as a strength, but it is because they don't know any better: for me, my organization developed out of necessity.
Sharing the knowledge
For awhile, I thought there might be something wrong with me. It wasn't until I discovered that's how I'm hard wired that I worked to address my flaws. It wouldn't have been possible without the continued support by my educators, friends, and family, including my insistant mother.
Upon telling this weakness-to-strength realization recently, someone pointed out to me that not everyone is capable of turning their weaknesses around.
I think there is a lot of truth to that.
However, I think that people who are unable to correct their "weaknesses" is because these traits are viewed as such: weaknesses. When, instead, maybe these weaknesses, such as dislexia, attention deficit, autism, make way for other, more powerful strengths in character, personality, ability, and individuality.
So now the question is, how do I help people discover their own hidden strengths? How do I help people overcome their "weaknesses?" I think that with a little support, people can gain the confidence to overcome personal battles, and turn around their greatest "weakness."