“When youâ€™re growing up, itâ€™s good to try a bunch of stuff. Then as you get older, you can figure out what youâ€™re great at (or at least realize where the potential is) and focus on that. Maybe you can even be the best.”
Dave Pell is talking about companies. Google is great at Search. Yahoo great for News. If you are Yahoo, let Google have the question mark as long as you have the exclamation mark. (I like the diaeresis and the interpunct myself).
I think this applies to everything, from individual to company. If you spend long enough trying to improve the areas where you are weak, you end up losing the edge on your strengths – you should focus on your strengths, stretch them, train them, challenge them. This is why an ace baseball pitcher spends his time on the field perfecting his pitch and not playing table tennis or learning the unicycle. To be great, you need focus.
I wonder about this because I apply my attention rigorously. At the moment because I’m concentrating on Cocoa (and finishing off a couple of web deployment projects), I can’t find time to pay attention to the gaming side of life. Not that I’m complaining. I’m not strong in Code-Fu but I am keen and it does seem to make sense. But is this side of things really one of my strengths? How do you define your strengths?
Back a long time ago, I bought a book called ‘TimeLord’ by Blacksberg Tactical Research Centre. One of the initial chapters of the book instructed you to take the group and perform tests, physical and mental, in order to define characteristsics, strengths and weaknesses. There was some debate during the tests and one person in particular became very withdrawn, having achieved very low scores in all of the physical tests. The relevance here was that part of the mental/social tests included group rating for the individual as a levelling/balancing mechanism. It became apparent that people often have an inflated view of their intelligence, their charisma and their experience. It’s also true that some people cannot see the wheat for the chaff and despite having degrees and friends and an active social life, would describe themselves as an unintelligent loner. Hence the need for the group levelling.
I am left these days wondering what my strengths truly are and what I should be doing to enhance them (perhaps as the best way to cover up for my weaknesses.) How do you define your strengths? How much does peer review factor into your result?