Wise-up Wednesday: Why We Look at Weaknesses the Wrong Way

With all the media outlets it is too easy to compare ourselves on all levels to other people.  A significant problem with this is that we compare our inadequacies to another’s “best face”.  Think about it:  Are people advertising their weaknesses on Twitter or Facebook? No way!  We are touting our successes and putting our best face forward.  So, why are we tempted so quickly to compare ourselves, especially our weaknesses to others’ strengths?

Dr. Caroline Leaf, author of The Gift In You, calls this our “disability focus”, that is when we are looking at our weaknesses more than our strengths.  She writes, “your brain is designed in such a way that your strengths support your weaknesses.  That is why weaknesses should not be seen in a negative light.  They are the flip side of your strengths and can therefore be renamed non-dominances.”

An overemphasis on trying to overcome weaknesses creates much of the unhappiness in our world.  It is possibly the reason people seek meaning in their life to no avail.

Dr. Howard Gardner, psychologist and professor of neuroscience from Harvard University, developed the theory of Multiple Intelligences (MI) in 1983.  Still today, traditional education typically does not recognize MI.  Therefore, our schools teach as if all students process information in the same way.  The results are that students are put into a box and forced to focus on their weaknesses without the freedom to focus on their individual strengths.  What often happens to those who are weak in the Logical/Mathematical and Linguistic domains is that they are labeled as ‘dumb’.  They get this label from the grades on their papers and it is reinforced by their peers to whom math and language arts come easily.

So my challenge to you today is to begin focusing on your strengths and make a positive impact on the people around you by appreciating their strengths and non-dominances.  Perhaps you have children in school or have influence on your school system – will you educate yourself on Dr. Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences or read Dr. Leaf’s The Gift In You and put this brain research into practice in your school.

Let’s make this world a better place by applying the knowledge we have.


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