Nowadays in interviews, employers are likely to ask you about your weaknesses. We are told that the best response is to provide a genuine weakness that you had in the past, elaborate on the steps you took to improve it, define the precautions you will take in the future and conclude that you overcame the weakness. But doesn't that feel a bit sugar-coated and not so realistic? Life is not like an Instagram picture, where you can easily filter out the imperfections.
We are all humans and humans make mistakes. Why are we so afraid to admit our genuine weaknesses? Why isn't Generation-Y able to embrace our faults?
Young, confident and independent thinkers are often unable to identify weaknesses immediately. Their heads are high in the clouds with an entitled attitude. We have to deliberately think about it to identify personal faults and weaknesses. Yet, if asked to point out the weaknesses of our friends, the words pour out faster than Niagara Falls.
Shy, insecure, demanding, judgmental, shallow, dishonest, conceited, obnoxious, awkward, beastly, desperate, emotional, hypocritical, jealous... etc.
We are all so quick to point out our friends' faults, so why are we still friends with these awful people? Well put quite simply, we can also see the good in them. We see their true potential. When we list our friends faults, it is not malicious and generally comes from a place of compassion; we point out their faults in order to help them. We care for them and want them to be inspired to improve.
Believe it or not, though, those key weaknesses we immediately identify in our friends are usually reflections of our own shared imperfections. Thus, when we try to help our friends, we in turn provide therapy for ourselves. Don't believe me? Have you ever wanted to comment on someone's terrible posture, but before telling them to sit straight, you quickly push your shoulders back? (You all just sat up a little bit straighter in your seats. Don't worry, so did I!) We are all guilty of this.
Yet the question remains, why do we see these flaws so easily in others but struggle to define them for ourselves?
1. Are You In Loser Denial?
Well for starters, pointing out someone else's flaws gives us a false illusion that we are separated from the problem. It provides a safe haven. It doesn't make the weakness go away, but it definitely draws attention away from us.
2. No Return Policy
We are raised to believe that weaknesses are defects. It's as if you were manufactured incorrectly in the shop. No one wants to buy a malfunctioning product, let alone be one. Thus, we are reluctant to admit our flaws. If we don't say them out loud, they don't exist.
3. Back to the Drawing Board
In our fast-paced society, the push of a button or the swipe of a finger cures everything. So, when we have an actual shortcoming that can't be fixed quickly, we are lazy to put in the effort. We don't have time for self reflection or improvement.
Written out with distinct headings, it should be clear that these excuses for not embracing our weaknesses are quite lame. As Dan Scotti so eloquently describes in this Elite Daily post, these "very same flaws may help your success." Imperfections are what brings diversity to our human race. It's what makes us "normal." Let us proudly point out our flaws and embrace our weaknesses. We should no longer feel the pressure to overcome our shortcomings, rather gain the power to live with them.
So I'm not saying that during your next interview, you should provide a long list of your terrible traits (please refrain from doing so!), but instead, before going to bed tonight, simply reflect. If you can think of one weakness you currently have, sleep peacefully knowing that tomorrow will bring a new and brave you for admitting so.