Saturday, August 20, 2011

Thought for the Day - Weakness And Strength

After watching the movie 'Facebook', the first thing that struck me was how a young man who has zero ability at making friends could create a social networking site that got him '500 million friends'. Of course at the end of the movie he is still searching for a 'real' friend. But the young man took his one obvious skill which was programming, his greatest weakness, one that he obsessed on all his life, which is his inability to make friends, put them together and voila, resounding success. Facebook got created.

Zuckerberg's greatest virtue in the whole film appeared to me his open acceptance of his weakness - his inability to make friends, his wanting acceptance. Herein lies my theory for the day. Many times we obsess and try to hide our obvious or perceived weaknesses. (Tall, short, dark, women, unpopular, food, sex, fat - whatever it is that is consuming you). We ignore it as if it did not exist at all and try to do everything else in our life when in fact our entire energy is centred around this perceived 'weakness'. And then we go all around the world and finally find that we cannot seem to avoid this one thing that we are trying to hide. It could be anything - writing, painting, poetry, singing, acting - people have made a success out their weaknesses once they acknowledged them as being their big obsessions.

This morning I was reading about the musician R. Vishwanathan of Mysore who relates how he used to hate the veena, an instrument that he is known for. He hated learning it and detested it until one day he found that he could play it better that his brother who was actually learning the instrument. And now he is known the world over for his expertise at paying the veena. He is defined by the veena that he hated when he was a youngster.

As Zuckerberg with his friend-obsession and R. Vishwanathan with the veena, many of us seem to be using up most of our energy on some of these things that we apparently seem to dislike or do not seem to have a particular ability for. But all our energies are on it for a great part of our life. We can ignore that for all our life. Or we can accept that and use it to make it a resounding success of our life.

In fact what we consider weaknesses, may not really be our weaknesses. (They may be things we can do well or easily, something we scorn because we want 'something else'.) In fact when accepted by us, they could be our biggest strengths - all weaknesses are really our biggest strengths flipped around! If we are putting enough energy into something, or can do it easily, it need not matter what we think of it, it will manifest itself as our greatest asset.If we allow it of course.

The more I think of it the more I am convinced that there is really no weakness. It merely needs to be seen from another angle, married to one skill that you possess and are good at, and you have the story of your life. Your success, purpose, wealth, fame, contentment could all stem from it. But the only condition is that one must accept it and work with it. Then everything looks so easy.

Yet another paradox - your weakness is really your strength.

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