People who worry about looking good typically hide what they don’t know and hide their weaknesses, so they never learn how to properly deal with them and these weaknesses remain impediments in the future. These people typically try to prove that they have the answers, even when they really don’t. Why do they behave in this unproductive way? They typically believe the senseless but common view that great people are those who have the answers in their heads and don’t have weaknesses. Not only does this view not square with reality, but it also stands in the way of progress.
For example, if you are dumb or ugly, you are unlikely to acknowledge it, even though doing so would help you better deal with that reality. Recognizing such “harsh realities” is both very painful and very productive.
I have never met a great person who did not earn and learn their greatness. They have weaknesses like everyone else—they have just learned how to deal with them so
that they aren’t impediments to getting what they want. In addition, the amounts of knowledge and the capabilities that anyone does not have, and that could be used to make the best possible decisions, are vastly greater than that which anyone (no matter how great) could have within them.
I am not saying that we all have the same potential, just that to get the most of your potential—whatever that is—you must learn and earn.
As I mentioned in the first chapter, you don’t have to know everything to get what you want. You just have to be honest with yourself about what you don’t know and know who to ask for help.
This explains why people who are interested in making the best possible decisions rarely are confident that they have the best possible answers. So they seek to learn more (often by exploring the thinking of other believable people, especially those who disagree with them) and they are eager to identify their weaknesses so that they don’t let these weaknesses stand in the way of them achieving their goals.
So, what are your biggest weaknesses? Think honestly about them because if you can identify them, you are on the first step toward accelerating your movement forward. So think about them, write them down, and look at them frequently.
One of my biggest weaknesses is my poor rote memory: I have trouble remembering things that don’t have reasons for being what they are, such as names, phone numbers, spelling, and addresses. Also, I am terrible at doing tasks that require little or no logic, especially if I have to do them repeatedly. On the other hand, I have a great contextual memory and good logic, and I can devote myself to things that interest me for untold hours. I don’t know how much of what I am bad at is just the other side of what I am good at—i.e., how much of what I am good at is due to my brain working in a certain way that, when applied to certain tasks, does well and when applied to others does poorly—and how much of what I am good at was developed in order to help compensate for what I am bad at. But I do know that I have created compensating approaches so that what I am bad at doesn’t hurt me much; e.g., I surround myself with people who have good rote memories who do the things that I am bad at, and I carry around tools like my BlackBerry.
我最大的缺点是识记能力差，特别是没有上下文推理的东西我就很难记住，比如姓名、电话号 码、单词拼写、地址等等。没什么逻辑的任务我也干不好，如果是机械重复的工作我更是不在 行。但从另一方面来看，我情景记忆力和逻辑思维都很强，感兴趣的事情我愿投身其中，不眠不休。不知道我不擅长某些事的原因会不会正好就是我擅长另一些事的原因，也就是说，我擅长某些事是因为大脑的某种思维方式应用到某些具体任务上发挥了很好的效果，但应用到别的一些任务时效果就很差。也不知道我擅长的思维方式是不是得到了开发，足以弥补我的缺点。 但可以肯定的是我自己想出了补偿方法，不会因为这些缺点而吃什么大亏。比方说，我身边结交很多识记能力很强的人，他们可以做我不擅长的事情，我随身带着黑莓手机这种电子设备就足够了。
How much do you worry about looking good relative to actually being good?