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Strengths are more efficient than weaknesses [shorts #1]
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It’s higher leverage to hone a strength than it is to fix a weakness because strengths are more efficient than weaknesses.
Imagine you had two asset classes. One asset class returns 20x for every dollar you put in. The other asset class returns 2x for every dollar you put in. You have $100 dollars. How would you allocate your principal between these two asset classes?
Your weaknesses are weaknesses for a reason. Your ability to dampen a weakness is significantly less effective than your ability to improve a strength. If you can fix your weakness efficiently, then you should question if that was really a weakness or merely a strength you just didn’t bother to train. True weaknesses are difficult for you to improve on — that is what makes them weaknesses. From a pure return-on-investment efficiency perspective, honing a strength is almost always going to win out.
So what should you do about your weaknesses?
First, identify if it’s really a weakness. If you can improve on your weakness efficiently, it’s not a weakness. You just haven’t cared or tried.
If it is really a weakness (as denoted by its inefficient improvement curve), observe its consequences. If they are minimal, let it go. No one is perfect. Accept it and spend your time elsewhere. If they are severe, you have to act.
To action weaknesses with severe consequences, you must either prevent yourself from entering situations that would draw out those weaknesses or creatively employ workarounds that attempt to leverage a strength.
For example, let’s say one of your high consequence weaknesses is that you are not capable of dealing with high ambiguity. To deal with this weakness, you should try to remove yourself as much as possible from situations that have high ambiguity. The most effective way to deal with situations you’re not good in is to not put yourself in that situation.
Of course there’s only so much one can control. Reducing your exposure will help, but there’s no way to keep it to zero. When it does arise, try to convert it to a strength as much as possible by tackling the problem through a different lens. Perhaps while you’re bad at ambiguity, you are good at analysis, focusing on a singular objective, and working hard when there’s direction. So manifest as much of that as possible. You could try to create a sense of certainty by outlining the possible scenarios and forecasting a probability for each one. You could go to a few trusted advisors who are better at uncertainty handling and ask them for advice. You can imagine the worst case scenario and then create a plan that’s designed to make it so the worst case scenario doesn’t happen. Even if you’re wrong, at least you’ve given yourself a little direction and pulled on a few strings that draw forward the things you are good at.
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