A reflection on weakness, strength and balance
A question: Which is better, to be very good at one thing and lousy at all the others, or to be neither good nor lousy at any of them?
I was thinking about this and what the answer to that question says about the way we relate to ourselves. Some people would say that they would rather be very good at one thing, and bad at everything else, because that way they would excel at something, than just be someone who is in the middle. Nobody wants to be in the middle, we have a negative view of what it means to be in the middle. To be neither good nor bad. That is why the word "mediocre" has a negative connotation, which comes from the Latin "medius" (middle) and originally referred precisely to what is in the middle, not to something bad. We want to be the best, or at least good, at something.
But the more I think about it, I can't help but see the flaws in that reasoning. I believe that the only way to progress is by working on our weaknesses, not by focusing only on improving our strengths. Someone who is in good condition is not someone who has a few strengths and many weaknesses. No. Someone like that is someone who is weak, because a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. That saying is true. No matter how much pressure the rings of a chain can withstand, it only takes one weak ring to compromise the strength of all the others, hundreds or dozens of rings. What will happen to a chain that has few strong rings and many weak ones? Will it be of any use? A person who focuses only on his strengths is comparable to a right-handed boxer who in preparing for a fight only trained the right side of his body and left his left side weakened. The fight came, and his opponent attacked him hard on his left side until he was finished. What did the boxer learn from the fight? That his opponent would not seek to attack his strongest part, but to exploit his weaknesses. That a person is only as strong as his weakest part. And, if he is perceptive, that he will never be able to make the most of his strengths until he works on his weaknesses.
So, I think the balance is a good thing. It is not a matter of being very good at some things and very bad at others, but it is necessary to dedicate time to our weaknesses and work on them actively to be in a more stable position. That makes us more complete. True progress that is built on rocks is based on strengthening our weakest parts, not on focusing exclusively on what we already excel at. The best is not the one that excels in one thing and lacks in others, but the one that, often without excelling in anything, as a whole, brings together the best combination of characteristics.
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