Strengths vs Talents

I’ve often heard people say things like “Focus on your strengths” or “Don’t waste time trying to overcome your weaknesses, you’ll just burn out.”

It’s important to tease out what that means. Misinterpreted, those statements could cause some to believe that self improvement is not worthwhile.

If “strengths” & “weaknesses” are viewed as behavioral traits, and “talent” is viewed as innate ability, then things get more clear.

In our careers, we can each achieve greatness much more rapidly if we focus on the areas in which we have “talent”. Trying to develop new talent can often be frustrating & unproductive. Even when the new talent can be developed, it is often at a large cost. For example, it wouldn’t be wise for a non-technical , sales minded person to try to become a great computer programmer.

This is distinct from behavioral traits. A “strength” might be the ability to overcome procrastination. A “weakness” might be a propensity to anger. Overcoming behavioral weaknesses and developing behavioral strengths are things that each of us should be dedicating time an effort to.

When we develop our innate talents and refine our behavioral tendencies, we set ourselves up for success.



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