Focus On Your Strengths, Outsource Your Weaknesses

February 9, 2013 5:45 am

‘Improve on your weaknesses’ is probably the advice we all hear, particularly during the first 10-15 years. But if you look at the data around you, what you will realize is this: we should really be focusing on our strengths, become better at what we are good at – because that gives us a shot towards becoming the best at what we are good at.

What about our weaknesses? Well, we can outsource that – remember, there are people who are already good in those areas, and they would strive to be the best – and we, as the people writing the check, would have the opportunity to hire the best. Imagine that – now you have the best of everything, including where we are by definition weak, and no amount of effort would have taken us anywhere close to the best in those areas.

The impact of this would be felt in your rate of progress in your strong areas. You will become better in no time, and with persistence and added focus, you will become the best.

That advice that elders gave you when you were growing up – to identify your weaknesses and improve on those – that advice is basically wrong. This is from Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, via pmarca:

” But if you want something extraordinary, you have two paths:

Become the best at one specific thing.

Become very good (top 25%) at two or more things.

The first strategy is difficult to the point of near impossibility. Few people will ever play in the NBA or make a platinum album. I don’t recommend anyone even try.

The second strategy is fairly easy. Everyone has at least a few areas in which they could be in the top 25% with some effort. In my case, I can draw better than most people, but I’m hardly an artist. And I’m not any funnier than the average standup comedian who never makes it big, but I’m funnier than most people. The magic is that few people can draw well and write jokes. It’s the combination of the two that makes what I do so rare. And when you add in my business background, suddenly I had a topic that few cartoonists could hope to understand without living it.”

Focus On Your Strengths, Outsource Your Weaknesses. That will help you Just Finish Everything.

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