At Continuum Music Studio, we encourage doubling down on strengths because it is the best thing you can do for your future. The Outlier theory claims it takes 10,000 hours of practice for someone to master a skill. Yes, doing anything for 10,000 hours is daunting, but you don’t need exactly 10,000 hours of practice to become a professional. The 10,000-hour rule is merely an exceptional goal for those who want to be an “Outlier”.
The first 20 hours of learning a new skill are the most important and 20 hours is proven to be enough time to get over a learning curve. So if you are a guitar player who wants to learn how to play the piano, you can prioritize your guitar practice while allotting time to get a basic understanding of another instrument.
Why double down on strengths?
The underdog story of Rudy shows people that with enough hard work, anyone can beat the odds. Rudy displayed his strengths in being able to overcome failure and adversity. However, if Rudy had doubled down on all his strengths, he could have mastered a skill. (He could have been on the other side of an underdog story, imagine that!) You build strengths on the foundation of your natural talents.
How do I find my strengths?
Start with people that know you best, if you have family members, friends, or a mentor that can be honest with you, ask them what they think are your strengths and weaknesses. You can also look back on your experiences. Ask, What have been my successes? What have been my failures? What do I enjoy doing? Write these answers down and you will get a rough outline of your strengths.
Another fantastic option is to take or purchase a personality test, for example, the Clifton Strengths Finder Test. This test has been developed to give you an accurate assessment of your top 5 strengths out of 34 characteristics from 4 categories.
What do I do about my weaknesses?
We should still work on those. It is important to understand limitations and the difference between that which is in or out of our control. If you are able, you can delegate your weaknesses to someone who has strength for that task. For example if you are a singer but don’t know the first thing about recording, you can find a producer or a studio that can record for you.
Who are some examples of people who double down?
LeBron James is an athlete who doubles down on strengths, he always had physical talent and ability unlike anyone else but he also spends $1.5 million per year taking care of his body. That is why his career has longevity and seemingly endless upward progress. He is also an example of someone who uses his strengths away from his profession. He has founded several companies such as an entertainment company, Springhill Entertainment, a marketing agency, LRMR, a media company Uninterrupted, and has franchised 20 Blaze Pizzas. He also started the LeBron James Family Foundation which funded the I PROMISE School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.
We are made up of strengths and weaknesses and those who prioritize using and building on their strengths will reap benefits. Your weaknesses will be with you even through success, don’t be afraid to acknowledge, instead be proud to have awareness of your weaknesses. Remembering each of us has weaknesses and only so much time in a day, we have to use the minutes and hours wisely developing our craft.