Is there any reasonable point in focusing on weakness? Honestly, there’s not. Choosing to believe that improving our weaknesses is easier than improving our strengths can be a big mistake. Such a state of mind, when it comes to self improvement, can lead us down the entirely wrong path.
We want to improve ourselves. But how?
All of us at some point have asked ourselves this question. Maybe we want to improve our overall weight. Perhaps we aim to lose some weight and start exercising. Or maybe we want to improve in such a way that we become more confident in ourselves?
These are just some of the most common goals on people’s lists when it comes to self improvement. What is more interesting is that most lists share the same thread. When people are asked what they want to change about themselves, they usually jump to their weaknesses. And the reason they do so is very simple. They just want to modify the things that make them feel uncomfortable or the things they struggle with.
Yes, to achieve a level of self improvement, we must become aware of and admit our bad habits, faults, and mistakes, but not at the expense of more worthwhile self improvement.
Why would we waste time and energy to improve our weaknesses?
What if we focused the same time and energy to build on our strengths?
New research about self improvement has shaded some light on these questions. The study found that people are more confident in their ability to improve their weaknesses rather than their strengths.
First, people listed one personal trait they believed was their inner strength. Then they listed one character trait they considered their central weakness. Basically, they were choosing something they liked and something they hated about themselves. Later, they answered questions about whether these traits were changeable.
A lot of them said the traits were part of them and couldn’t be changed, but if they could change them, they’d work on their weaknesses rather than their strengths.
Alas, believing that our weaknesses are more changeable than our strengths can lead us down a dead-end road! It can lead us down the path of focusing on our weaknesses more when it comes to self improvement. Of course, the positives of such thinking are evident. They can be inspiring and motivational.
However, such thinking can have its downsides, too. Trying to get rid of a bad habit often just wastes our time. Even with the best intentions, we can end up failing. We often target weaknesses that are hard to change. We are very often overconfident about our ability to change them, and we set unrealistic self improvement goals.
If we set more reasonable goals for ourselves, we might be able to stick with our plans and achieve them.
The further away we are from the goal we set for ourselves, the more we believe we can achieve that particular goal. The study concluded that believing that weaknesses can change led people to establish unrealistic goals about self improvement.
What naturally comes next is the question, Do we miss opportunities while focusing on the weaknesses we want to change? What if we simply accept our strengths and their existence?
A source of happiness and well-being can emerge from working on the good things we already have instead of neglecting them. In fact, if we are training and improving our strengths, we may benefit significantly.
These “active interventions” give us a chance to practice our strengths and explore them to achieve a new level of self improvement.
Numerous researchers have found that people who worked on upgrading their strengths were much happier.
On the other hand, neglecting these strengths can have very negative effects and consequences.
By nature, we believe that when it comes to self improvement, we should work on our weaknesses, not our strengths, because weaknesses are here to stay. Such thinking clearly doesn’t motivate us to work on our strengths. That’s wrong in so many ways. If we don’t work on our strengths, they may fade away in time. We need to engage with our strengths to keep them active.
What do we need to do to achieve self improvement?
Researchers showed that even our beliefs of what we can and can’t change could be changed themselves. And if we succeed in changing such beliefs, we can deal with all sorts of setbacks in life, all the lower grades, all the breakups.
Such beliefs can also shape our goals. If we believe we can improve our knowledge and intellect, we’ll surely try to. We’ll take on more challenging problems and do whatever it takes to improve them. And all of this just because we believe we can.
So when it comes to self improvement, we must believe. We must first change our beliefs. We must dedicate ourselves to those beliefs and work on them. After achieving that state of mind, we’ll see everything afterwards as much easier.
If we choose to believe in our ability to develop and upgrade our strengths, we’ll try different ways to achieve that. We’ll seek self-growth opportunities that will capitalize on our strengths.
To sharpen and improve the skills we already have is just one way to upgrade ourselves and achieve a level of self improvement. We need to start somewhere. What better place could there be than with the person we know the best of all: ourselves!
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