You can’t achieve greatness focusing on your weakness. How often have we heard this statement made? How often have we even said it to ourselves only to be snared by our own failures? More important, how do we bypass the blockades that failure erects and which we unconsciously expect when success exposes us to our weaknesses? The purpose of this article is to help you adjust your approach so that you can realize your hopes by highlighting three simple yet effective correctives to equip you in your quest for greatness.
Weakness versus Failure
We must first realize that failure and weakness aren’t synonymous. Yet how often do we confuse the two because we blame our weaknesses for our failures. Even so, failure is the temporary inability to accomplish a peculiar task according to our conception or expectations. Weakness, in contrast, reveals a need to take deliberate steps to overcome specific limitations when possible, whether environmental, emotional, circumstantial or practical. Making these distinctions allows us to see that weaknesses may cause failure but they don’t make us failures unless we choose to call ourselves so.
A healthy attitude is always optimistic at base even when circumstances best for the moment. In this regard, Billy Joel captures the crux of this characterization between failure and weakness when he responded to lavish praise regarding his musical style. Joel said, “My style is a result of my limitations because there are some things that I just can’t do.” Wow! How much further would we go (enjoying the journey) if we employed Joel’s genius in facing our own limitations and weaknesses? How closer would we be to achieving our dreams? What, moreover, if we understood how to respect the relationship between time and timing discussed below.
Time and Timing
Time is perhaps the biggest harassment we endure, especially when we reach a certain age and have yet to grace the stage youth envisioned. Then we are apt to see ourselves as imprisoned despite our best efforts to be paroled and to prosper as we pine to. When we see time this way, it becomes a tormentor rather than the mentor that it is to those who ultimately achieve greatness. These achievers understand that the right sentiment is essential to success and greatness. They understand (and honor) the inevitable rotation of greatness, which brings every soul to its season if it stays centered in itself, making adjustments and growing endowments accordingly. Keeping this attitude enables them to negotiate the often nebulous relationship between time and timing.
Unfortunately, however, most of us focus on time –how long we have been working or waiting, for example. We seldom consider timing in a way that tempers or comforts us. If we are to succeed, however, we must acknowledge the fundamental, metaphysical fact even, that there is a time for every purpose under the sun. If we ignore this fact, we allow haste to hinder and our hunger to wither because we aren’t getting the results we desire. Timing is about knowing when to plant, plow or to place our work and ourselves into success’s soil. We increase our sensitivity by developing our weaknesses, accepting setbacks rather than cursing them or ourselves. The greatest benefit in taking this approach is that it enables us to reset our success clocks to be more in sync with the cycles that bring every soul to its season. These seasons and cycles are the subject of the next section.
Seasons, Cycles and Success
Much is revealed about us based on how we handle hindrances. Some people get defensive and feel a need to justify their circumstances or deny them. Others, in contrast, resist them in ways that lead to exhaustion, despondency and depression. Yet none of these people would behave this way if they went and into their gardens and observed nature, which is the ultimate nurturer of success and greatness. This is especially true if they understand that seeds can’t be forced to grow except at their own pace. Of course today we do have all kinds of supplements and science that can bypass this process and rush to market what hasn’t finished making itself. Yet we pay for it ultimately with bad diets, digestion and death in some cases. Yet these same people often seek to elude nature’s cycle by working around the clock rather than with it, as if this is enough to rush success or beguile greatness into coming sooner than it does. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be diligent, driven even.
But I am saying that success comes in seasons according to the cycles set by the same nebulous nature that controls time and timing. We forget this, however, because we are deluged daily with some example of overnight success, which is what most people want. Success can come over night; but what if it doesn’t. What do we do then? How should we respond when we have waved our wand seemingly to no avail? Does this mean that we have failed? Or does it mean that we should respect the same invisible and inviolable laws that regulate the natural world? This question isn’t a matter of violating principles or ignoring them. On the contrary, the best approach is to be mindful rather than moody, as we strive to do the duty we have prescribed for ourselves. If we do this, we can improve our weaknesses, accept our limits, and improve our relationship to time, which will help us to be in sync rather than out of sorts with success or ourselves!