Here we are again, on the eve of another tragic shooting at a school—this time the Seattle Pacific University. And as always we are left wondering why these things still happen. There is no perfect answer, unfortunately, but there are common reasons. One of them is fear. But I’m not talking about fear in the typical sense—I’m talking about the fear of weakness.
I’ll be the first to admit I am no psychologist or human behavioral specialist but I know a little something about failure and success. And I’ve seen far more than my share of the dark side of human nature. In fact, I lived in the midst of it for the first 18 years of my life. One of the biggest lessons I learned was that when you run from personal weaknesses or try to hide them behind a facade of toughness or coolness or some other trait that you think makes you more acceptable to your peers, you don’t become stronger or tougher or cooler. You actually become weaker. If you run from your weaknesses long enough, you eventually become so unstable you crack.
I know it’s not a popular notion to mention our weaknesses let alone actually work at improving them. In fact, there is a major movement in our country that promotes focusing on your strengths and ignoring your weaknesses. This is a half-baked approach to a healthy, successful life for one primary reason: your weaknesses are the primary enemy of your strengths and therefore any progress you try to make.
While strengthening your strengths is critical to succeeding at any endeavor, if it’s all you do, you’ll eventually hit a ceiling on your potential. And it may come sooner than you realize. The only way to lift that ceiling is to work on your weaknesses and turn them into strengths. When you do that you not only become a far more formidable force toward your dreams, you greatly diminish the possibility of breakdown. You become a more whole and healthy person.
It’s not weak to admit weakness. And it’s not uncool to work on a weakness until it becomes a strength. Don’t hide who you are to be more acceptable. Accept who you are, strengths and weaknesses, and put in the time to diminish the biggest enemy of your dreams—and possibly others’ dreams too.