Strengths and weaknesses are interchangeable

Strong Fish Comic

Often in life what frustrates us is when our strength becomes a weakness, and when our weakness becomes a strength.

For example, I have a good memory. It helps to remember things on the job. However, the downside, which is major, is that I remember things that I don’t want to remember and that don’t help me. I remember all the mistakes, all the hurt feelings I have had, and all the reasons that I am imperfect. While this keeps me humble, it is annoying. Our strengths and weaknesses can help or hurt us, and we can’t control that.

Strong Fish Comic
strong fish comic

In job interviews, a popular question is what is your weakness? I often respond with how much time do you have? My biggest weakness is my memory. I have a ton of associations when I think because almost every word reminds me of a memory. When I write this, for example, I see an infinite forest of branches of what I could write. Partly because those memories are so strong. They shout for attention, and I can’t focus on every random little thought I have. I have to let most of my thoughts just pass because I won’t let my memories control me.

Why am I talking about this? I realized this morning that personal qualities really depend on the situation and that no quality is truly always helpful or always harmful. Everything in life needs a balance, otherwise, it becomes harmful. As you get older you realize that your former excesses of youth were just a silly misunderstanding and ignorance of the balance in life. As my life has been more balanced I have been happier than I ever could have imagined.

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Don’t get stuck on very simple concepts of strength and weakness. It isn’t a strength to not show your emotions, and it isn’t a weakness to be vulnerable with those you trust. Being flexible in life while having standards is ok, and leads to better results.