How your weaknesses can make you win


Today I would like to tell you a true story about someone how invented her wheel with her weaknesses. This is a longish post, bear with me, you will see at the end why.

Once there was a young girl, seventeen. In her school, 17-year old students are given a special task: a “masterpiece”, meaning a personal project which they can choose freely and which they are responsible for. About half a year to accomplish, and then they have to present their work to an audience of teachers, students, parents and friends.

Over the years our young girl had seen the older students deliver all kinds of masterpieces: they had made films, theater plays, dresses; build a cello, a canoo, made a fresco or sculptures, sung songs, performed dances … she had known for years of course that one day she would have to deliver her own masterpiece, and she was scared and excited at this prospect. She wanted to do something special, something personal, something nobody had done before, something that was really hers. All kinds of ideas came and went, and in the end she found her answer with Greek mythology: Heracles who had to accomplish twelve superhuman tasks to calm the Gods of some mischief (as always in Greek mythology): you might remember the stables of Augias or killing the Hydra.

So our young girl decides: I will take twelve weaknesses of mine and will face them and this will be my masterpiece!

It would take too long to detail all the twelve challenges here, just a few:
Being claustrophobic, she let herself being locked into a broom cupboard for several hours.
She isn’t the most musical person in the world and terrified to sing in front of other people – so she studied a song with a professional singer, found herself a couple of musicians and performed the song at the presentation of her masterpiece!
She never manages to make people laugh or so she thinks – many a sunday was spent in developing a comical sketch with an acting teacher. People laughed tears.
She is afraid of heights – well, let’s go bungee jumping then. From a viaduct 45 meters high, no less.

This her masterpiece took months of hard work, tasks she had to abandon, buckets of tears, frustrations and exhaustion. When it came to the presentation, it was by far the most impressive masterpiece not only of this year – she actually set new standards. By facing her weaknesses, she had gone way beyond anything she would have been able to achieve with her strengths.

Every single person in the audience was catapulted into this question: what am I doing with my own weaknesses? She had taught us with her masterpiece a great lesson:

Your weaknesses can be your greatest assets. It is up to you.

PS: I could not have made this story any shorter: this young girl is my daughter. Proud doesn’t event start to describe it!

2 Comments

Malinmai 30th, 2011 at 9 h 04 min

Thank you for sharing this! So inspiring! And a good reminder that the younger ones have got so much to teach us. Still. Sometimes I can get a bit cynical and think they are all lost in their mobile phones and computer games… Thank you again! And a big thank you to your daughter for daring to do it!

adminjuin 1st, 2011 at 18 h 26 min

Thank you Malin! It is true that we as parents/adults are well advised to remember how much potential these kids do really have – especially on the days when they communicate only by mono-syllabic grunts :)

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