How I really choose which weaknesses to try to improve
As I rethought what I said about the two approaches to strengths and weaknesses, I realized a subtle distinction that plays into which approach I choose.
In some cases, I’m bad at something because I’m just not talented in that area. In other cases, though, I’m bad at something maybe because I lack the talent but also, more importantly, because I don’t like it.
In the first types of cases, I’m open to working on my weaknesses. I couldn’t play drums when I started, but I enjoyed learning, so I gave it a shot. This applies to more abstract weaknesses too, say, listening. I don’t think I’m all that good at it, but I like learning, so I feel like I have a much better shot at moving that into an area of strength.
In the second types of cases, though, the kinds where I lack the talent and don’t like the process of learning to improve, I’m much more likely to move on to pursue something else. For instance, I don’t like living on a strict schedule or planning way ahead of time, so I’ll leave that kind of living to someone else who enjoys it.
So a lot of it comes back to motivation. If I have the motivation, it really doesn’t matter if it’s a strength of a weakness – I can be game to go. Without the motivation, though, it’s going to be tough to capitalize on a weakness, so it makes more sense for me to abandon it and figure out how to play off one of my strengths instead.
In other words, if it’s a weakness I like improving, it can probably become a strength. If not, forget it.