I go back and forth about if I should develop my weaknesses. I am bad with money. Not bad at earning it, but I’m bad at waiting for stuff. I just buy what I want. Imagine a petulant bratty child shopping online some nights and drinking wine to cope with self-induced financial pressure on other nights.
Sometimes I consider being a person who is good with money. Cheap car insurance is okay. But cheap pens, not okay. And then I think about the oozing black glaze pens I write with, and I think I would have never found those if I were price sensitive about pens.
People accomplish more by focusing on strengths
The thing is, it drains our energy to focus on our weaknesses. That’s really what personality type is about. Each of us can function like any type we want to function like. But it’s exhausting to be someone you’re not. And that’s really what “working on your weakness” means: working on being someone you’re not.
On top of that, focusing on our strengths is what makes us resilient, and that, more than fixing weaknesses, is what allows us to overcome hardship. And this is true in terms of both individuals and families as a unit.
Obsession on fixing belies lack of self-knowledge
I have noticed that the with all 16 personality types, once a person understands their strengths and weaknesses, they have little interest in developing their weaknesses. The people who think it might be a good idea to work on their weaknesses are people who don’t have a good handle on their strengths.
People like people who are like them. Parents tell kids to work on their weakness because parents want kids who are more like them. And bosses tell employees to work on their weakness for the same reasons.
A trait of someone with Aspergers is poor self-control. I work on the things that are super important, like waking up each morning so my kids have a mom. But I can’t fix each instance of poor self-control. Most people with Aspergers are great with routine, and we can just leverage our strength in creating routines so we deal less frequently with issues of self-control.
Strengths and weaknesses come in pairs
As an ENTJ my weakness is being so direct that I’m offensive. And that’s a trait of someone with Aspergers, too. So I have a lot of problems being too direct. But if I weren’t direct I wouldn’t have the benefits of being an ENTJ (earning a lot of money because I don’t care what people think) and Aspergers (being honest no matter what the circumstance). I like the benefits that come with my weaknesses, which makes me much less willing to work on weaknesses, and much more willing to sleep in the middle of the day.
Become an expert on your kid’s strength
And I know I’m not alone. People actually don’t mind their own weaknesses. So an important part of teaching a kid who they are and what their strengths are is leaving them alone about their weakness. Because their true self doesn’t care about their weakness.
I’m not saying to tell your kids they are great at everything. That’s delusional. They are great at one thing. Just like everyone else is. Help your kid find what they are great at. Parents are very specific about what kids need to fix. Be that specific about what a kid is great at – that’s what it means to focus on a kid’s strength.
This is a good time for me to tell you that you should buy this course about using personality type in your parenting. But I’m not that great at using this blog to sell you stuff. And I don’t want to change that. So instead I’m going to tell you that if you know your kid’s personality type, put the four letters into Google and read a lot about that type. To teach your kid to leverage their strengths, first you have to understand them at a deep level yourself.