Shyness My Shield

The Art of Turning Weakness into Strength

In his autobiography ‘My Experiments with Truth’, Gandhi writes about ‘shyness’ being his biggest weakness in the beginning of his political career. It made him stumble and stutter speaking at a public forum. A self-professed introvert, he writes how he found it rather difficult to communicate his ideas, thoughts in such meetings. However in retrospect he writes about how his timid, yet powerful deliveries, turns out to be his greatest weapon. He realized that more people paid attention to what he said, the content, than be swayed about otherwise. Similarly,

Is it possible for us, to take advantage of our biggest weakness to our advantage?

Is it possible for us to convert moment of our greatest failure to our greatest turning points in life?

Weakness into Advantage

The Obstacle is the Way

It was Ryan Holiday who articulated this idea in his wonderful book, ‘The Obstacle is the Way’. He writes that the very obstacle that impedes the way, becomes the way. Quoting various real-life historical examples, he writes about how Gandhi used his fragility, his weakness of having ‘no power’ to topple the empire of the greatest nation in the world at that time. He turned weakness into his advantage.

Blessing in Disguise

The old adage, ‘blessing in disguise’ proposes how we can make any weakness/ failure in our life a blessing. One of the greatest fear I have is of being an introvert. Often times, it makes me having a not-so-friendly relationship with my colleagues, family and friends around. I rarely be outspoken of my opinions, and kept myself closed. For me, social interactions simply drained and that created an image of being too arrogant.

In my work atmosphere, I was able to use my introverted nature to my advantage. Instead of trying to be a jolly-going fellow, I became the idea person, the system person in my company. I freed myself of all the unnecessary managerial meetings and unimportant managerial work which I was uncomfortable. This turned out to be my greatest advantage. I was invited to participate in strategic planning and designing and developing contents.

With the same set of skill sets, now I’m able to look at my career trajectory in a different way, than I used to before.

Everything is Perfect

I recommend the same to you. Quit worrying about your borne inability and weakness. Blood is thicker than water – you can’t change the very nature of yourself. You’d be a misfit. Instead of worrying, using it your advantage. There is a reason why you’re like this. Cherish it. As Dr.Wayne Dyer puts it aptly, ‘Everything is perfect in the universe – even your desire to improve it.’ This includes you too.

Try this Exercise

Here is a simple exercise to get you execute this idea for real.

  • Divide the notebook into two different columns
  • Mark on the left side the list of your weakness, your failures you faced.
  • Now, on the right side column, note down how you’ve or can convert this weakness/ failure into an advantage.

You’ll be surprised how often you can come up with interesting ideas to take advantage of it.

If you liked what you read, kindly do mention about one weakness or failure which you thinking turned into a blessing in disguise.

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