Here’s a fun topic for Friday: Let’s talk about the things we’re bad at.
There are many things I’m good at—writing, dropping too many F bombs, making healthy food taste good—but there are far more things I’m positively terrible at. Spelling, anything beyond basic math, sports requiring coordination, keeping a logical filing system, and remembering where I put my f^#$ing keys are a few of them.
With the exception of the whole keys debacle (for which I place blame my parents, might I add. I never locked my car in high school and my brother and I never saw a house key until we moved out on our own) those items placed under the category of, “Things I’m Bad At,” have very little impact on my life. I don’t sit around wishing I were a tennis player instead of a runner and God invented spell check for the linguistically challenged.
You will advance much further, faster by concentrating on your strengths over your weaknesses. In turn, your weaknesses do not have to negatively impact your daily life.
Now, perhaps you think you’re great at everything. Well that’s just splendid Buttercup, I’m sure you are. But perhaps there are some things that you’re better at than others. For the areas where you’re not batting 500, here’s how you can deal with them:
Step one: Alert those around you.
You know what I’m bad at? Smiling. That’s right, I take home gold for having the worst RBF in the continental United States. And since I’ve been told since the ripe old age of five to smile more, I make a conscious effort to warn those around me.
This tactic has proved particularly beneficial when it comes to employers. Whenever I start a new job or meet a new colleague, I give them a heads-up. A quick, “Hey, I’m not much of a smiler,” has saved me many-a-headache. Usually, it works to my advantage—the whole thing becomes a joke in the office rather than a hindrance.
Step two: Don’t deal with it.
Let me introduce you to the most beautiful word to grace our human race: Outsourcing. That’s right; say it with me now.
The ability to outsource is, in my opinion, the most glorious thing about being an adult. With the exception of paying your taxes and not physically harming another human, there are few things you have to do. If, for instance, your mom made you make your bed as a child but you suck at cleaning, you can hire someone to do it. Great, right?
My brother Zeke’s biggest weakness is seeing colors. Whether you view this as an actual shortcoming or an actual disability is entirely up to you (the boy is infact color blind). Therefore, he outsources color-matching to me. He gave me his Amazon password years ago, and whenever he needs to buy clothes, accessories, furniture, or anything related to fabric and textiles; I build him a shopping cart and he picks and chooses what he wants. This system has prevented my brother from showing up to work wearing a pink tie and purple pants.
Step three: Throw your energy into the things you (truly) are great at.
I could have spent my entire high school existence practicing basketball, volleyball, or any other sport to become average at that sport. Instead, I spent the majority of my waking hours to become great at running—the one activity that came naturally to me.
Likewise, I could have dedicated my college career to become better at accounting or understand general finance principles, but I was positively horrible at these two subjects. For crying out loud, I still call my college roommate for help with Excel (did it this week, thankyouverymuch). Instead, taking two things I always had a knack for—writing and thinking outside the box—make a career in marketing much more logical. And a helluva lot more enjoyable.
Focus on your strengths, buttercup—and don’t let your weaknesses hold you down.