Years ago, a very dear friend and mentor said to me, “Kid, the most successful people I know are the angriest. And you are the angriest person I have ever met.”
On face value, I took that as a compliment, as being told you’re successful usually is. But it’s what he said next that still sticks with me to this day.
“But you will never reach your true potential until you solve for that,” he went on.
You will never reach your true potential until you solve for that.
It completely rattled me at the time, opening my eyes to the possibility that my success was driven by something deeper, something darker even. And those forces, while producing a commendable result of high achievement, were to be “solved” if I was ever going to break through the clouds and see the sunset.
It’s a lesson I think about almost daily still, many years later.
In reality, we all have demons that contribute to our weakness. And sometimes, those weaknesses, when harnessed, channeled, and (over) compensated for, produce very socially acceptable outcomes.
But, until we solve those weaknesses, we will never be the complete person we can be, never reach our highest and best purpose as human beings.
I’ve come to realize that you can probably interchange the word “heal” with “solve,” as it’s said that most of our life’s work as self-actualized adults is to heal our past traumas so we’re able to truly move forward.
We also may delude ourselves into thinking that our talent solely drives our success, not those weaknesses and demons.
So, should you recognize talent or weakness first?
Which one should you focus on?
Good questions, and there is no “right” answer.
But I do know that so often, we focus on only the talent. The good stuff. After all, it is so much easier to say how great we all are. How special we all are. How successful.
However, more and more, I think that’s the wrong way to approach things.
Sure, we can acknowledge the talent but also identify the weakness first.
And when we can solve for the weakness, the talent with become ever so much more pronounced.
These days, when everyone posts the “highlight real” on social media and perfection is damn-near worshipped, it’s not often that you see someone talk honestly about THEIR weaknesses.
Maybe they (and we!) think they have too much to lose.
After all, look at where they live, the car they drive, how perfect their family appears, how well their business is doing, and how successful they are.
But by allowing ourselves to be authentic with our weaknesses and shortcomings, we can unlock so much more. Not a façade of perfection, but well-lit steppingstones to a higher mountain.
I’ve never forgotten those words from my friend all those years ago.
And although progress is definitely not linear, and the clouds sometimes still roll over me, I haven’t given up.
I’m still working on it, I’m happy to say.