Myth 5: Understanding your character weaknesses is key to being resilient.
The central idea of this myth is that if you can understand what’s wrong with yourself, you can then work on those defects and make them strengths in order to become “balanced” and an “all-rounder”.
This myth has its origins at school and extends to business and almost all walks of life. The idea is that everyone, and in particular leaders in business, must be “well balanced”. The problem is that very few people start off life as an all-rounder in terms of skills and personality strengths.
Therefore to be an all rounder with balanced strengths and a balanced leadership style, deficit areas or weaknesses need to be developed to the level of our strengths.
This belief is deeply flawed. Firstly, it’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to develop all one’s skills and character strengths to an equally high level. Secondly, when confronting and dealing with adversity, dramatic change and generally tough times, it’s a lot easier to use your natural character strengths to cope than it is trying to use your weaknesses.
In addition, in order to fulfil your life purpose, you must have been provided with the wherewithal in order to do so. The provisioning for this journey is in the form of your particular character strengths — not your weaknesses.
When we use our strengths we feel effortless, our work is easy and enjoyable, and time seems to stand still while we have fun. When we rely on using our weaknesses on the other hand, it’s difficult. Work is experienced as heavy and we are left feeling tired and depleted.
Resilient people cope with the adversity by using their natural character strengths. This enables them to cope quicker and better than less resilient people. This enables them to recover, heal and move on with their lives, focusing on growth and self-fulfilment.