Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Should We All Be Good At Something?

Lately, it seems like I've read a lot of articles with a similar theme: don't focus on making your weaknesses better! make your strengths stronger!

But I disagree... Kind of.

The idea is that if there are two things you do, one of them is going to be a pathetic 2 on a scale of 1 to 10, and the other is a very respectable 7. These are where you rank naturally, with no training or practice or whatever. Experts and others with opinions have said that it's a better idea to put effort into improving the strength and not the weakness. If you put two hours a day into the strength, you might increase ability to a rank of 9 or even 10. Good job! But those same two hours, invested in your weaker area, might only produce a 4 or a 5, which is pretty mediocre considering how much time you've spent working toward improvement.

So basically, you could go from a talented coffee shop guitarist to a full-time pro... or you could go from a terrible baker to one who manages to follow a Tollhouse cookie recipe correctly (most of the time).

I understand what everyone's getting at -- do what you're good at and become even better. That makes sense most of the time.

But there are some areas in which you may not be naturally gifted, but should still focus energy into improving -- and I think communication is one such area.

If you can't communicate about your gifts and talents in other things -- or even create the opportunity to showcase them -- what good are those gifts and talents? And if you can't infect people with your passion for a cause because you don't know how to tell them about it, what impact will you really be able to make?

I know I'm biased, but I honestly believe communication is one area in which everyone needs to possess some level of proficiency.

Do you agree? Do you think there are other areas that people should devote energy to improving, even if it isn't a natural strength?


canamgirl said...

Wow...uncanny similarity in thought today! I agree. I might be able to "dance" but I'll never be on "So You Think You Can Dance," so rehearsing that skill might be time wasted.

How to best use our time with the skill sets we have is definitely a question worth asking!

Dave said...

I concur. There are times, however, when we are forced to become more proficient in things that are not among our natural skills sets. Take math competency on the GRE, for example. Our culture forces us at times to focus on improving weaknesses instead of bolstering strengths.

Feelmore said...

yep, pretty much agree with everything you said, it really depends on the skill.

Jamie said...

Just found your blog today and added you to my blog list because you are hilarious! Can't wait to read more.

JaelCustomDesigns said...

Popping in from SITS!

I totally agree with you.

I definitely need to work on my communication skills. I get really quiet when I shouldn't like at a Chamber of Commerce Networking event, mostly when I'm alone. If I go with collegues or friends I'm fine. You'd think I'd be okay with this being I work in the Newspaper Indusrty as an Advertising Sales Specialist. Huh! Think Again!
Communicating with people one on one outside of a group setting or networking conference I have no problem. Go figure...

I also need to work on being puntual. I'm puntually challenged but if you saw what I had on my plate, you'd understand why. None the less it needs to be worked on.

Last but not least, I'm a procrastinator. That one needs to go! I have all these ideas and plans just waiting to happen.

Kathryn said...

Self improvement means improving all thing about ones' self doesn't it? This is interesting. I'm going to think about this...... Thanks! Yes, you are biased but also, correct! ;)

Did I spell ones' correctly?

Bethany said...

So weird- I've been thinking about this sort of thing a lot lately. We had to take a test for work and I think it will be interesting how our staff meeting goes. Most likely something like what you're saying here! I'm excited, actually!