Do What You’re Made For

We are all incompetent at most things. The crucial question is not how to turn incompetence into excellence, but to ask, “What can a person do uncommonly well?” This leads, inevitably, to a conclusion: your first responsibility is to determine your own distinctive competences—what you can do uncommonly well, what you are truly made for—and then navigate your life and career in direct alignment.

To focus on weakness is not only foolish; it is irresponsible. But does this “build on strength” imperative mean never confronting our (or others’) deficiencies? Yes and no. It means that if you’re made to be a distance runner, don’t try to be a middle linebacker. At the same time, you must address deficiencies that directly impede full flowering of your strength.

When Michael Jordan was reaching the end of his basketball career, he could no longer fly to the basket with the same height and power as when he was younger, so he began to build a strength he’d never previously had: a fade-away jumper. He eradicated a crucial weakness within his strength, turning his fade-away jumper into yet another Jordan-can-kill you-strength on the court. Do what you’re made for, yes, but then get better and better; eradicate weakness, yes, but only within strength.

Summing-up: We are all good at something. We all have a special gift. We must focus on getting better and better on our strengths.

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