Your Weaknesses Are a Tightening Noose

Gary Vaynerchuk says you should double down on your strengths and hire for your weaknesses. I think that’s probably right.

But you should be aware of the nature of your weaknesses: they are a tightening noose.

With every day that goes by, your bad habits and weaknesses become stronger and more set in place. Each passing day also limits the time you have to address those weaknesses. Paths you could have taken (had you just been stronger in those areas) become closed forever.

Didn’t learn how to play sports when you were young? It’s not the end of the world when you’re a kid (though it is pretty bad). But wait until your 20s and 30s and it’s pretty hard to fit in on a basketball court. Not good with numbers? You can definitely learn math later, but you’ll probably be in distant second place to the kids who excelled in math from a young age (in other words, don’t expect the best engineering work.)

It’s in this way that life forces us into certain channels and pursuits. This is inevitable – you can’t address all your weaknesses, and you can’t be equally strong in all areas. But you should be aware of what’s going on: weaknesses don’t wait for you – they’re working all the time.

This makes the choice clearer between facing a weakness now and facing it later. If the weakness is worth improving, do it as soon as possible. The landscape of opportunity for someone who improves on a weakness early (even if only to a small degree) is much broader than for someone who improves on a weakness significantly later in life.

If the depth of our life is set by our strengths, then the breadth of our life is set by the nature and breadth of our weaknesses. If you want a life that’s both broad and deep, be mindful of managing both strengths and weaknesses, with all of their tradeoffs.

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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