There was a time back, long ago, when knowing each other’s deficits was important. In fact it was critical to our survival.
But today we live in a time when our environment can literally make up for any of our shortcomings. We have evolved past the need to link deficiencies with survival.
Unfortunately, our instincts have not.
Despite overwhelming evidence—the blind man with incredible hearing, the deaf woman highly attuned to body language, the dyslexic student with powerful memorization—society is too accustomed to seeing the world in terms of deficits and exceptions. And so are we. In trying to improve, we naturally default to identifying and focusing on our weaknesses, our supposed deficiencies, in hopes that we can become better by figuring them out. Millions of books, courses, self-help seminars, gadgets and apps have been created to “level-up” our weaknesses. Even case studies have been written to evangelize the benefits of these tactics. But beware, because there’s an inherent danger in focusing on your deficiencies. And don’t take my word for it.
The Danger of Focusing on Deficiencies
Oprah Winfrey, a towering entrepreneur for the ages, once said: “What you focus on expands, and when you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it.”
So what are we doing by focusing on our deficits? We’re creating more of them. We’re enhancing them. We’re actively expanding the power of our deficits to limit our capabilities.
It has been said that each of us can do at least one thing better than ten thousand other people. That should be encouraging news, right? But here’s the problem: most of us have no idea what that one thing is. And, a big part of the reason we don’t know is because the systems are set up to help us overcome weakness, not become great with our strengths.
Embrace the World Through Your Strengths
Think about it. As a child, when you came home from school with your report card, what was the response if you had five A’s and one D? You were told to go work harder and do better in the subject where you struggled. Somehow that gets into our DNA and many of us go through life fixing the D instead of celebrating the A’s. But successful people have figured out that no amount of work will make them great at everything, and so they focus on the one thing they can do that will produce greatness.
To embrace and realize your full potential, you need to choose to see the world and yourself differently. Rather than limits, see opportunities in the exceptions. Rather than seeing deficiencies that must be fixed, see the attributes that must be enhanced. This is what makes people exceptional. This is what unlocks the limitless possibilities set out before you.