DO NOT turn weaknesses into STRENGTHS

I was at the boxing gym the other day watching a coach work with his pupil.

They were working the pads and the boxer was firing off various combos…

1-2-3-2…

1-1-2-3…

1-2-5-2…

… and so on.

When the buzzer went off signaling the end of the round, I overheard the coach mention to his athlete, “Your right hand is great but your jab isn’t very good, so we’ve gotta keep working it and turn it into your strength.”

And it’s not the first time I’ve heard this before, nor will it be the last, as I feel it’s one of those sayings that gets passed down from generation to generation without a second thought.

Well here’s the second thought:

Trying to turn a weakness into a strength is an uphill battle and ultimately is an inefficient use of your time and energy.

Here’s why:

Let’s say you’re a gifted painter.

The first time you picked up a paintbrush, you created something that surprised people when they heard that you were the one who created it.

But you suck at math (you must not be Asian).

So your parents, with the best of intentions, decide to enroll you in math lessons everyday so you don’t flunk out.

Unfortunately, this means you have to give up your painting lessons.

Now, not only will you be going against your natural talents, being a naturally more right-brained and creative individual, you’re forced to focus on something you suck at and don’t even enjoy.

The result is frustration at your lack of performance, a blow to your self-confidence and possibly hating life.

But what if you were encouraged
to focus on your innate gifts?

You’d be able to spend most of your time doing something you’re already great at and love, which can only result in joy and fulfillment, increased self-confidence and a greater love of life.

And because you live in this left-brain dominant world, you’d get a little bit of extra math help, but only on those areas that are absolutely necessary so you don’t fail at life (I still have not used Calculus in the real world).

So my advice to you is to instead, focus and nurture your STRENGTHS while making sure your weaknesses don’t hold you back.

If you’ve got sick striking but you’re terrible on the ground, keep working your striking game but make sure nobody can get you down or at the very least, you’re the slickest mofo at getting back to your feet.

If you’re strong as an ox, then get as strong as you can while making sure you don’t become so tight and inflexible you can’t scratch your own back.

If you’re logical and solution-oriented, make sure you develop enough sensitivity to hear and accept emotion without trying to be someone you’re not (personal experience here).

If you feel better when things move at a fast pace, don’t try to become a buddhist monk but do remember that slowing down and recharging allows you to keep your fast pace going.

Develop your strengths and don’t allow
your weaknesses to hinder you.

We’ve all got things we’re naturally better at and gravitate towards so be the best you that you can be and part of that is making sure you’re not held back by those areas you’re not so good at or don’t enjoy.

That’s my message to you today.

Do with it what you will.

PEACE~

Eric

28
Leave a Reply

avatar
17 Comment threads
11 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
21 Comment authors
OscarKeithJarrell Garciajeanbill maalsen Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Jarrell Garcia
Jarrell Garcia

First and foremost, I greatly appreciate anyone who genuinely looks at the culture of sports and looks to discuss, faster, review, and analyze any/all of its many many components. Now, with that being said, Eric, you do not make a clear or valid point for your opinion/argument. Your comparison of the experience you mentioned with your example; are not even remotely relatable that your committing an anecdotal fallacy (using a completely isolated example/sample instead of actual research/proof/or the original sample to prove your point). Secondly, while essentially everyone would agree with “develop your strengths and don’t let your weaknesses hinder you” all of your examples after that would contradict that claim. A striker can’t become a “slick mofo at getting back on their feet”, without working that area. Hopefully people take not focusing on their weekenders, but being aware of them is a level of emotional and physical awareness, that… Read more »

Jarrell Garcia
Jarrell Garcia

Ton of auto correct mistakes. But, I think you get my point.

Keith
Keith

I agree with you,this article does show that people shouldn’t let go of their strengths when 90%+ of the time that is what will get you to competition level in any sport/passion. What I think he did wrong was pick 2 things that aren’t related. A person could argue that math is not art.Now if that persons weak point was a certain type of brush stroke or not fully understanding depth and it was a limiting factor then yes working on the weakness will help that person become a better painter/artist. MMA and other sports work the same way…..train to your strengths and you will go far but at some point its your weaknesses that could keep you from being champ/staying champ.

Oscar
Oscar

Your structure, vocabulary and eloquence is your strength…. Your inability to use it to create something useful and positive is your weakness.You use it to feed your ego by replying to those who have done so much more than you, mistakenly thinking it takes away from them and adds something missing in your life. Firstly, secondly and thirdly… Change your life around dude.

jean
jean

Makes a whole lot of sense 🙂

bill maalsen
bill maalsen

Absolutely agree. I have been telling my high school students this the whole time I have been teaching (34+ yrs). I say this, not only in my PE classes, but also for other subjects at school (as you did). And other things in your life naturally. Sometimes you don’t really know what you are really good at yet ofcourse, but starting with things that you enjoy makes you far more likely to become successful, which in turn makes you far more positive and open to try new”stuff”. I absolutely loved biology at high school and sucked at maths, however that didn’t stop me from getting a degree in exercise physiol. or reading the time on a stopwatch 🙂

Fletch
Fletch

The sagest advice I have seen in my inbox for a very long time.

John Patterson
John Patterson

I have read a lot of the stuff you have posted and like anyone agree with some and not others,,,,life right,,,,but this one was good,,,,be the slickest mofo…lol….its true,,,,,all the best brother.;

Amé Flournoy
Amé Flournoy

Talk about something I needed to hear right now. Thank you for your thoughts. I really do appreciate it. I want to pass this second thought to everyone I know!

Best,

-Amé

Daniel Pearce
Daniel Pearce

Hit the nail no the head. Now I’m from a Savate background and last few years transitioned to mma. And all I ever get from people is why don’t you let me get in close when we spar. My answer has always been my legs are longer stronger and I’m much better at kicking than punching.

On a separate note loving the fight deck.

Cheers

Kind regards Daniel Pearce

cheryl
cheryl

Eric, like a lots of responders below, this article resonated with me.

So often our parents, teachers, managers through out our lives direct us with the best intent to improve in areas that are not our strengths. Even going so far to guide us into careers or study that do not interest us because they believe they have our best interests at heart.

Thank you for the post.

cheryl
cheryl

I should have also said, I completely agree with you and it’s up to us to be strong & courageous enough to challenge our mentors, coaches, managers knowing they want the best for us, but really we know what feels right. I don’t want to continue to beat my head against a wall trying to improve in an area that’s not a strength. I really enjoy your emails & your videos!

Clai
Clai

That was a great read. Very inspirational. I have heard that from many coaches in my days. I now train with a coach that feels the same in regards to focus on whats great and make it stronger. Thank you again for all you emails and for sharing such great info. Peace and Blessing my friend.

Shawn T. Singletary
Shawn T. Singletary

I have been receiving your emails for a while but this particular article resonated with me and I appreciate the spirit of the article. Some will argue the semantics of your message but I humbly believe you summed it up well. Knowing your strengths and managing them well while not allowing your weaknesses to be a hinderance is a smart way to approach most of our issues. Thank you for this as I believe I read it at an appropriate time in my life.

René
René

Hi Eric,you just wrote my life-story!I was a talented young artist-but was made to do math[badly].then one day ,the art-tutor offered to hide me in the studio so I could concentrate on learning to paint.Result?I got in to the most prestigeous art-school in the UK,and went on to become a successful artist.
Can’t wait for your new shoulder-flexibility program-as I am really in need of improvement.
Thanks for your posts–inspired and inspiring.
René

Eric

Wow, awesome and how lucky to have such a sympathetic art teacher!

Lee (Carmen)
Lee (Carmen)

Intensely accurate. These words carry weight & i certainly appreciate the inspiration. Thx, Eric.

Michael McKenzie
Michael McKenzie

Well said my yute

Eric

Thanks. And what is a yute?

Ugis
Ugis

Hi Eric
Up to one point you are right, but not till the end.
Immagine the Klitchko and his boxing, while he is on feet there is very few guys Who can hurt him. Then imagin him in MMA and he goes down with somebody Who is grapler, or he meets Thay boxer , in both cases he has very slim chance .By that i would like to say when you are as strong as your weakest link. Of course his main weapon is punch but if he wants to be compleat fight er then the grapling and kicks have to be still very high level. This just my personal opinion

Eric

He’s a boxer, not a mixed martial artist, so your example doesn’t apply.

steve
steve

Nice piece of writing and truth.
We are all trying to become some unbreakable perfect chain, we all have weak links we can only develop them and the the things around to make us stronger physically and mentally to be the best person we can be.
Good work Eric.

I Also would like to mention I have been using your ankle mobilization technique on a tight calf and it’s working a treat.
Thanks Steve

Rob
Rob

Your opinion kinda conflicts with the theory of constraints. Sometimes the weakness is a bottleneck which holds back progress overall despite how much better you get at the non bottleneck areas (aka strenghts).

Eric

Dude, this was in the last paragraph:

“We’ve all got things we’re naturally better at and gravitate towards so be the best you that you can be and part of that is making sure you’re not held back by those areas you’re not so good at or don’t enjoy.”

domin8r
domin8r

I understand your message but I think there’s a difference between “making your weakness a strength” and trying to be as versatile as you can be.
How good is good enough?
And doesn’t amplifying your strengths make you predictable?

Vince
Vince

This is kind of obvious in a way, like many things in life, but it’s only really something you think about AFTER someone tells you about it. It is a bit of a balance to get right, which you get in experience.

And in terms of being predictable, that’s not exactly a bad thing. E.g. everyone knows about the Hendo bomb and expects it, but everyone still fears it, because they know it only takes one of them.

Eric

And the Ronda Rousey armbar.

Keith
Keith

True 90% of the time your talent/strength can take you to the top but your weakness unchanged and unchecked will be just that….a weakness.Ronda Rousey is actually a good point of this fact.I LOVE MMA and I LOVE that Ronda has taken womens MMA to new levels and that is all good and great but you also have to realize that there is a “pink” elephant in the room.Women’s MMA just doesn’t have the same level of competition as men’s MMA. its like a 1-6 Ratio in favor of man just by the number of fighters.Back when MMA just started in the USA BJJ was beating everyone…was it because BJJ is the best “style” or that the Gracies were literally THE best.No the level of grapplers at the time wasn’t that high in MMA compared to the Gracies; until the Gracies changed that. Ronda is in many ways the Gracie… Read more »