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Desirable Difficulties

How to Turn Weakness into Strength

We’re on a roll with the whole “embrace challenges on your epic quest!” theme so how about one more +1 on the subject?

Malcolm Gladwell wrote a great book called David and Goliath in which he walks us through some fascinating stories that demonstrate the fact that sometimes what we perceive to be our greatest weaknesses can actually be turned into our greatest strengths.

Scientists call these “desirable difficulties.”

Imagine that, difficulties that are desirable.

Like what?

Well, how about a girl’s basketball team packed with kids with no experience playing basketball and, therefore, no traditional talent. Oh, and the head coach knows nothing about basketball. That’s a weakness right?

Sure, but what if they turned that weakness into an asset? That’s what one team Gladwell features did. They decided to break all the rules and simply HUSTLE more than anyone else by running a full-court press all game. (Hah.) Which worked. It so disoriented their competitors who were used to people playing by traditional approaches that they won. A lot.

Personally, I used to wish I grew up in a happy, stable, affluent, well-educated family with a silver spoon in my mouth and optimal DNA in every cell.

(Laughing but I *still* wish that was the case at times! 😃)

And… Now, I can see that growing up in a lower-middle class, blue collar, super-conservative Catholic family struggling to pay the bills with a father who struggled with alcohol (and whose father struggled with alcohol and killed himself) was, ultimately, a huge blessing.

The resulting challenges that I experience(d) and have overcome/continue to overcome in my own journey ARE THE PRIMARY REASONS I CAN NOW DO WHAT I DO.

Thanks to the wonderful cocktail of my compromised Nature AND Nurture, I was forced to develop a set of skills that I otherwise never would have been forced to create. I also have a deep sense of compassion for the inherent challenges of battling demons along with wisdom on how to overcome them that I can integrate into my work to serve even more profoundly.

Like that girl’s basketball team, I compensated by running full-court presses on my fundamentals (eat + move + sleep + breathe + focus!) ALL.THE.TIME. (Hah.)

+1 for today: How about YOU?

Can you create an even more compelling, coherent narrative about YOUR life and how your
difficulties have proven to be desirable?

Let’s do that.

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