That’s right. Me. I’m the last person to discover Strengths Finder the book (and testing system). I transferred universities and managed to miss all the freshman ‘discover yourself’ courses. But I’m making up for lost time. When I was young, I never read the introductions to books. I bought the ticket for the show, not the opening act. Now I love introductions. The intro to Tom Rath’s Strengths Finder is really interesting; he says that everyone is obsessed with developing their areas of weakness so that they can overcome odds and improve themselves, but what they should really be focusing on is their strengths.
Part of me is a big advocate of the well-rounded person – bravo liberal arts, make all the creative types take math and the science kids take drama. Fill yourself out: if you have no empathy start listening to people (or watching Oprah?), if you are disorganized buy a calendar, etc. But Rath isn’t suggesting we completely ignore problem areas; he is suggesting that we spend more time honing our strengths instead of weaknesses, because without natural talent, there is only so far we can get in an area.
The problem with sticking to strengths is, in different situations some areas of talent are more important than others. And when it comes to the job front, employers across the board are looking for certain qualities. You can’t go into most job interviews and tell them that what you lack in detail orientation and organization you make up for in creativity. Even people working in artistic fields are expected to show up on time, meet deadlines, etc. In cover letters, you describe yourself as hard-working, not able to make people like you. Even in customer service fields.