The Teacher’s Great Deception
Let me ask you a simple question: What are your strengths? Let’s think for a minute before reading further.
You probably started your thinking process by listing the things you are good at. This is exactly what your teachers did very wrong, and it has had serious consequences in your life.
It was hard for me to believe that when I counted all the time I spent in the education system, the total number was 17 years. I’ve spent 17 years being graded thousands of times for everything I did. It’s just a long list of subject names along with A, B, C and others (or actually, in Poland, where I live, I could get 5 for being really good and 1 for being really bad at something).
Let’s stop for a moment and think about it. For many, many years, you and I were receiving grades from our teachers that were supposed to reflect the quality of our work in every possible aspect. But here is the point:
A strength is not just something you’re good at; it is something that makes you feel strong!
And how many people on the whole planet know what makes you feel strong?
Think for a minute.
That’s right. Exactly one.
It is you.
In my case I could get through 17 years of learning, receive thousands of grades, yet among the teachers, there was rarely anybody asking “what do you feel when you are doing this?” And I was the only one on the whole planet who could answer that question.
This is why I could get the same grades in two subjects, but one was making me feel strong and the other was draining my energy. This is why I could spend hours studying the first one and researching additional information, while I was learning the other just to pass the exam and nothing more.
Try listing things that make you feel strong. It could be the same things your teachers told you you’re good at, but not necessarily. You helped the old lady while others didn’t care, and she smiled in return, so you felt strong. You woke up at 4:00 in the morning to see the sunset in the mountains while others didn’t care, so you felt strong. You were solving a difficult logical problem and 3 hours passed like 15 minutes, so you felt strong. Take a few minutes to make your list; it can really open your eyes.
When you meet people, you can immediately tell if what they are doing is making them feel strong or not. They don’t even have to speak–it’s just one look in their eyes, and you are immediately aware. The same applies to you!
If you are fueled by passion and by doing something that makes you feel strong, you can work harder than anyone else. People can see it in 5 seconds, before you even open your mouth. This is why we love passionate people; their energy level speaks for itself.
Do you know what Michael Jordan heard in 10th grade when he was trying to join the varsity team in basketball? That’s right, he was deemed “too short.” It is hard to believe and today it sounds funny, but this is exactly what your teachers did wrong–they can tell only what is external and rarely anything about the internal volcano that is inside you.
With that knowledge comes great responsibility.
The worst thing about this pattern learned through education is that it continues in business world, and then your boss is the person giving you grades and, be honest, rarely asking about your feelings.
There is only one person in the world that knows how you feel when you do things. It is you who needs to take responsibility over your own strengths because only you can feel it. Do not wait until your boss guesses it, or until your partner recognize it–you have to find it yourself and be able to communicate it effectively.
There is a secret inside you. Whenever you feel strong, stop for just one minute and contemplate about it. What is it that made you feel this way? Remember that others can only see the quality of your work, not your emotions.
It is easy to judge other people according to the results of their work; however, their (and yours!) inner life quite often precedes the results. Let’s look at Jesus and the way he has chosen the twelve. Were they any known, great leaders? Spectacular speakers? He could see their potential before even they could see it.
So, let me ask once again: what are your strengths?