This is what Charlie Munger, Warren Buffet’s right-hand man and investment partner, has to say about building on your strengths.
“You have to figure out what your own aptitudes are. If you play games where other people have the aptitudes and you don’t, you’re going to lose. And that’s as close to certain as any prediction that you can make. You have to figure out where you’ve got an edge. And you’ve got to play within your own circle of competence.
If you want to be the best tennis player in the world, you may start out trying and soon find out that it’s hopeless—that other people blow right by you. However, if you want to become the best plumbing contractor in Bemidji, that is probably doable by two-thirds of you. It takes a will. It takes the intelligence.
But after a while, you’d gradually know all about the plumbing business in Bemidji and master the art. That is an attainable objective, given enough discipline.
And people who could never win a chess tournament or stand in center court in a respectable tennis tournament can rise quite high in life by slowly developing a circle of competence—which results partly from what they were born with and partly from what they slowly develop through work.”
Working on your weaknesses can be a waste of time.
It’s more work than it’s worth. If you don’t have a natural talent for it, why force it?
“Double down on your strengths” – Gary Vaynerchuk
But be careful with how you interpret this advice.
Some would use it as an excuse not to focus on things they’re just not good at.
For instance, in high school you can’t just forget about studying maths.
You have to be self-aware in assessing how much effort you have to put in to bring that area up to some respectable level.
Sure, this comes at the expense of focusing your energies on your strengths.
But once you don’t need maths (e.g. because you’re going to studying English literature at university), you’ll be able to shift your focus to the qualities you think make you stand out most.
And if you build on your aptitudes enough, your weaknesses won’t matter.
You will have compensated for them.
Build on your strengths because that will yield the most results.
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