Last weekend I was having a conversation with a successful man who used the phrase, “It’s good to know your strengths, but more importantly, understand your weaknesses.” You can’t be good at everything because there are too many things to be good at. Knowing where you may be lacking is important because in those areas you can seek out help from people who many be strong in that area and improve yourself. Most (weak) people fail to think that they have weaknesses but with a practical self-evaluation, I think everyone can stumble on a few. This post will outline my strengths and weaknesses.
Talking Before Thinking
The Shee likes to say that I don’t have a filter when I talk. Meaning that when thoughts hit my brain I speak them without thinking. This is probably half true but if I said everything that hit my brain, you’d probably think I was mentally handicapped. I’ll give an example of sounding dumb due to not thinking. I asked a woman what her job was and she said a public criminal defender. I asked is that the prosecution or the defense? When people hear you ask that they think to themselves, is this guy serious? I will point out though that realizing that you said something stupid is far superior than not. At least you can correct it. This happens all the time with my dad too. He’s quick to jump on you if you say something dumb so it’s important to not say anything at all rather than blurting out what’s hitting your brain. Silent thought > Pointless babble. I’m trying to improve on this but realizing when you should keep your mouth shut is important.
Finishing People’s Sentences / Words
When other people are talking, I have a tendency to finish their thoughts. In my own mind I’m not doing it to be an asshole but I’m doing it to express that I have an understanding and I’m listening. However, sometimes I can jump to conclusions on what they are trying to say and misinterpret their idea. This is a detriment in the conversation. I also think that sometimes I’m moving the conversation along if the person is stumbling for the right word and I already have it on the tip of my tongue. I see how this could be considered rude and most people don’t even notice this, but I think it’s important to let the other person finish their thoughts before jumping in.
I still struggle with this but I don’t see many other people who’ve mastered this. It’s a difficult task to strike up conversation with random people even though it’s almost always better than silence. A quick example from my experience in the Broad St Run line. The line to pick up the bib was about 25 minutes long and we were single file. I spent the first 5 minutes in silence until a couple tried to butt in line and I told them to head to the back. This struck up a conversation between me and a woman in her 40’s. She was a nice Philly woman who after some conversation invited me to a Fairmount running club event after the run. Now I could have been silent throughout the entire line process but even this trivial interaction was better than silence. Striking up the conversation is the hard part for me but one of Jeff’s friends gave a perfect answer to this, “it doesn’t matter what you say, as long as you say something.”
I know people who watch every single dime that goes in and out of their bank account. This has never been my style. If I want something, I’ll get it. I’m price conscientious but only to a point. Yesterday I bought a running shirt and two pairs of socks for $42 dollars. Could I have gotten it cheaper? Probably. Did I need it? I could have worn old gear. Did I want it? Yes and I’ll spend for something I want. This causes me to over spend a lot of the time because I value life more than money. I ask myself the question, does this hold the value to me at this moment? I also think that I’ll out make my spending in the future so I’m not that concerned with it now. I’ve gambled thousands of dollars away and spend tens of thousands of dollars on alcohol so I know that I haven’t done as good as a job as I could on saving but that doesn’t mean that I’m not aware of it. I believe I’m improving with the recognition of the problem. That’s key to life.
I can add to this list and maybe I’ll have a part two but all I need is one brief bullet point to my strength list.
The ability to recognize, change, and improve.