Push your pluck Print E-mail
News - Final Word
Monday, 25 June 2018 12:37
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Have you ever heard about an ant mill, girlfriend? This happens when a group of army ants lose their track and begin following one another, thereby forming an endlessly rotating circle.

In 1921 William Beebe was the first to record a mill that was 370 metres in circumference. It took each ant two and a half hours to go around once. None of them could leave the circle and they all died of hunger and exhaustion.

Sounds familiar? Do you feel stuck in your life, as if you’re just going around in circles? The thing is, many people who feel trapped actually work very hard at escaping the mill they’re caught up in. Problem is, they’re going about it the wrong way.

Here’s the game changer: If you want to change something it’s better to leverage your strengths rather than try to change your weaknesses.

Author Hyma Pillay explains it as follows: Focusing on your strengths is about seeking opportunities instead of problems. It means concentrating your energy on the things you are good at.

Focusing on things you are weak at diminishes your enthusiasm, self-confidence and performance in general. Trying to fix or get rid of your weaknesses won’t work. Instead, work around them. Find approaches where your weaknesses don’t stand in your way.

First you need to know what they are, though. Many people don’t have a clue what their strengths and weaknesses are. Jonathan Michael, engagement marketing manager for Palo Alto Software, writes that you don’t have to make an all-inclusive list of 100 strengths and weaknesses. If you’ve listed more than 15 items in each column, you’re most likely focussing too much on traits that aren’t even all that significant.

Just be sure to distinguish between weaknesses and areas where you have no experience. If you’ve never learned to swim, it doesn’t mean you don’t have the potential to be a good swimmer.

To help you think about what to include on your list, Jonathan recommends asking questions such as: Which projects have I spent hours on without getting tired? Which tasks seem to drain my energy?

Why do I like my hobbies? What am I frequently complimented about? What do others usually have to help me with?

Trying to compile such a list could feel bewildering. Luckily there are many free online tests, such as The RichardStep Strengths and Weaknesses Aptitude Test (RSWAT).

Only after you’ve spent time truthfully weighing up your strengths and weaknesses, should you ask others what they think. It is important to figure out whether you’re being honest with yourself or whether you’re merely trying to live up to someone else’s expectations.

“Every time we make small decisions to fit in, whether as a child or as an adult, we are burying a little part of ourselves down deep. This is really serious business, this denying of who we are. Make it a habit, and you risk becoming confused about who you really are,” says Paula Grieco, co-founder of ‘What’s Your Brave?’.

She says that the opportunities for adults to deny their truth in favour of approval are endless, and choices can feel complicated. There is good news, though. Just like denying ourselves can bury who we are, small decisions to be you can also have a snowballing impact. The more often you are brave enough to express who you are, the easier it gets. 

Rosie Rees writes that it’s important to ask: Who or what is stopping me from fully expressing myself right now? It might be because you’re scared of what someone will think of you; you’re afraid of not being liked, of being judged or criticised; you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings; you don’t want to rock the boat; or you’re scared of the consequences of speaking your truth.

Rosie says that a good question to ask is this: Am I willing to lose myself by not speaking my truth, or am I willing to lose the friendship or relationship?

Some people are more naturally predisposed to care what others feel. Is that just a weakness that stands in the way of self-expression? No, if you’re one of them, you’re also likely to have a great inclination to be empathetic. That is a strength you can build on. You’re the ideal person to support others in their self-expression.

So, next time you see someone brave enough to stand out rather than fit in, you be their pompom girl. No directions required. Just rah-rah.

Besoek die Suid-Afrikaanse Departement van Gesondheid se webwerf vir alle amptelike inligting en opdaterings rakende COVID-19 by www.SAcoronavirus.co.za

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