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What's your strength?

Last week, my friend, Ray, gave a speech on people's strengths and how society seems to have an awkward gravitation towards being "well rounded". He mentioned that as a student, when he received an A in math and a D in English, he was lightly rewarded for the A and heavily punished for the D. He would have to spend hours upon hours thereafter, working on all thing English - from grammar to spelling to comprehension. When he finally raised his grade from a D to a C, it was as if Hawaii reached Statehood! Confetti would fall from the heavens and the pop of champagne bottles would resound the room as the abundance of champagne geysers would shoot across the room. In his later years, he would be confused of this. He was rewarded for reaching mediocrity yet, his strength in math was not cultivated. He wasn't encouraged to be the Michael Jordan of math. Why was he shaped, molded, cultivated, developed, and encouraged to be mediocre? He feels that had he pursued his mathematical or parallel strengths, he could have been a lot more successful. Ok, backup. Successful. What he means by successful is that he could have been happier overall; he could use the same effort and create a greater output; and as a person, he would be contributing a greater amount to society.

In a recent conversation with a nationally respected doctor, he mentioned that a very small percentage of the population generates a very large percentage of economic results.

Well 2 + 2. If we were to all excel using our strengths and become supermen and superwomen of our talents and skills, our population as a whole would be amazing!

Maybe you perform the Oscar Meyer Weiner song and dance like no other 40 year old in Kaimuki. Maybe you can twirl ceramic plates on broomsticks like nobody's business. Maybe you can down more hard boiled eggs in a minute than a chicken can hatch in a year. I think we are given these strengths not to simply recognize them and check them off our lists as we begin to focus, full bore on our weaknesses. We are given these strengths to cultivate them and to contribute to society.

In the old days, a blacksmith went to a farmer for his or her vegetables. A fisherman went to a carpenter for home repair. And this seemed to produce the most effective results. It created an efficient society. So why is the chemist of today trying to hem his or her own jeans? Why is a sushi chef trying to change his or her own oil? I think each and everyone of us needs to focus more on our strengths. Don't neglect our weaknesses but dang, if you really got something going and you enjoy it, cultivate it....

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