Every weakness has a corresponding strength

In a nutshell: Before you take to heart any piece of negative feedback, you have to contemplate how that weakness may serve you. Then, and only then should you think about how to address the weakness, otherwise you risk the chance of losing a corresponding strength.

It’s safe to say I embody the characteristics of a zealot, especially pertaining to waste, fitness, and food. Moderation has never been my forte and I’ve been told many times I embody the headstrong characteristics of a Taurus. When it comes to my passions for sustainability and healthy lifestyles, I’ve found myself getting so obsessed and distraught in a situation that I’ve thought in frustration, “sometimes I simply wish I didn’t care.” Having a peace-of-mind - a better way to say moderation since that word is purely subjective - seems to be a constant internal mission.

Whether it be obsessing with minimizing waste, following a plant-based diet, waking up at 5:30 to exercise even though my body craves more sleep, friends and family have advised that these are “extremist” habits, that I should be more “moderate”, and “choose my battles”. While my lack of moderation may resemble a weakness, I’ve learned that before you take to heart any piece of feedback, you have to first contemplate how that weakness may serve you. Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn offers this sound point*, “Most strengths have corresponding weaknesses. If you try to manage or mitigate a given weakness, you might also eliminate the corresponding strength.”

For me, I interpret my weakness of “extremism” as evidence of my passion and dedication. Sure, through most people’s eyes I’m sure its oddly extreme that I ask the bartender to not put a straw in my cocktail in efforts to live plastic-free, or that I bombard the waiter with questions regarding the fish on my menu (yes, this Portlandia scene totally resonates and anyone close to me understands #sorrynotsorry), but if I didn’t do these things and instead just talked the talk with no substantial action i.e. sad facing Facebook posts of seals choked by plastic bags, then I simply wouldn’t be myself. So, before you get too hard on yourself for a weakness, really take the time to consider to what extent that weakness is actually a problem worth addressing; you might realize that it’s not much of a problem at all when thinking about the bigger picture.

*Thank you Tea Time with Tara for sharing the post with this quote