When parents notice their child struggling with a particular subject in school, the instant reaction is to find a tutor for that subject or to send the child for remedial classes. The remedial classes, extra study and effort might bring that student’s weak subject up to power with the stronger ones and I think that’s a good thing. But what often get missed out are the strengths that the student has. A student who is extremely good in the English language but is struggling with Math might spend a lot of time and effort to improve his Math but lose out on the opportunity of building on his real strength of English. This is what I call the Weakest Link Approach. The mindset of focusing on what’s going wrong and what’s not working, while completely neglecting what’s going well. I also see this at play when organizations call me in as a consultant and tell me about everything that is a problem or everything that is not going well. Almost entirely overlooking the things that their people are good at and the things that the organization is doing well. And there’s always something that people are good at and there’s always something going well in any system. Focusing on that is what I call the Strongest Link Approach. The mindset of first accepting that there’s always something going well, focusing on it and eventually allowing that to expand.
To start using this in your own life, just follow this three step process.
- Start by first making a list of at least 20 things that you are grateful for. This is a good primer to help you set the right tone and get moving in the right direction. If you can’t think of at least 20 things in your life that you are grateful for, then it’s important to work on doing that first before proceeding. This helps you work on yourself from a point of power, abundance and gratitude.
- The second step is to think about what specifically might have helped you have some of those 20 things that you are grateful for. Write down three things that are going really well that you can do something about. These could be your strengths, a life situation, an area of your life, something that you possess, etc.
- Step three is to do at least one thing everyday that helps you focus on and build on what’s already going well in your life.
For example, if three things that I am grateful for are my house, my health and my job. Then the second thing I would do is to think about three things that are really going well. Maybe, in my case, it is the fact that I live in a house that I own, so I don’t have to pay rent. I am in a state of health because I work out everyday. Finally I am in a job that I enjoy because I have the skills that are required for excellence in my job. The third step then would be to do one thing everyday that helps me build on what’s going well. Perhaps take better care of the house that I own and do one thing everyday to keep it clean and looking great. Maybe going for a five kilometer walk everyday or learning martial arts to further improve my health. I might also join a course and spend an hour everyday to read, learn new things and practice and improve the very skills that are getting me to excel at my job.
In the end, what you focus on expands. Since there is enough that is going well for all of us, it totally makes sense to focus on them and allow them to expand to all other areas of our lives.