Posts Tagged ‘skills’

No such thing as a weakness

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , ,

You know, with all the evaluation I’ve done of myself recently, I kept coming to the topic of strengths and weaknesses. I’ve come to think that there aren’t actually strengths and weaknesses out there. A strength or a weakness tends to be thought of as a trait. But to me, they are skills you are better or worse at. (This is a similar idea to flatsides, as laid out by Wistia.)

“I’m great at communicating,” you might say. Then you have probably spent time working on how you express yourself. If you’re not a strong communicator, you probably haven’t practiced extensively.

You can have skills that are underdeveloped and those that are overdeveloped. Everything ends up being on a sliding scale of more or less. Each person’s interpretation of where the scale tips from good to bad is at a different spot. In addition, regardless of your level of skill at any one thing, it simultaneously means good and bad things. Different people manage to interpret the “goodness” of these skills differently.

For example, let’s say you’re very detail-oriented. As a strength, that’s great when you need to proofread documents or measure things or be accurate in calculations. As a weakness, it may mean you are very nit-picky with people and get caught up in the minutia so you forget to consider the big picture. While some people may admire your ability for precision and accuracy, others might find it tedious to have every little thing critiqued or pointed out.

On the other hand, if you’re not detail-oriented at all, you may well be thinking in a larger scope. You might be the type of person who sees how the pieces connect, or your energy is focused on creating something new without putting a microscope to every idea. Ultimately doesn’t it come down to how far out or in you choose to zoom your focus? Someone more zoomed in may notice minor changes while someone more zoomed out may notice more patterns.

Each skill can be useful in its own place.

I can see pros and cons in just about every scenario: someone who is boisterous can be seen as wonderfully sociable or awfully obnoxious; someone who is often doing things for others might be seen as generous or nosing into others’ business; someone who is empathetic could be seen as kindhearted or overly emotional…

So I believe that weaknesses are merely strengths we haven’t harnessed (or are even a strength in hiding). Each speaks to a skill that you have more or less of. So strengths are really skills that we’ve developed more and weaknesses are skills that we haven’t developed much, if at all. And even strengths are weaknesses from another light, and vice versa. That’s why I imagine skills as a bit of a seesaw, with two traits on either side.

Let’s say there’s a seesaw about the skill “talking,” with loud on one end and quiet on the other. As you move closer towards loud, you get further from quiet. Positive interpretations include things like noticeable and energetic. Negative interpretations include things like rowdy and disruptive. Then as you move closer towards quiet, you see a shift to positive interpretations like pensive and polite, negative interpretations like invisible and unapproachable.

It may be the case that none of these interpretations are true! But that’s how I envision skills. A spectrum where more of something is less of something else and there is no absolute good or bad. You choose where you want to fall along the way, depending on your personality and values. Similarly, that colors how you interpret the very skills of others.

So what this comes down to is the idea that any skill can be developed and the ones you choose to focus on reflect who you are. You might have a so-called weakness, but your strength probably lies elsewhere. If you feel like you should improve the skill involved, work on it! But if you feel like that’s who you want to be, then don’t feel the pressure to change. We won’t all be good at everything and be everything to everyone.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that being authentic to yourself unlocks your potential. It frees you to be the most awesome version of yourself! So don’t worry about “weaknesses” – think about if it’s a skill you want to improve. It may very well be one that doesn’t jive with you and you can embrace that. The beauty of humanity is our variation and our choices to be so, don’t you think?

The creators, the inventors, the doers

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I’ve always admired people who can make something. Maybe it’s gadgets or maybe it’s music. Maybe it’s art or maybe it’s crafts. It just amazes me when they can take their skills to produce an end result that we can use or enjoy again and again.

For years I wished I could be a creative. Come up with things, produce things that others would admire me for. In fact, recently I’ve been contemplating YouTube videos. Putting content out there that people could listen to and relate to, now that’s creation! I looked in admiration at all types of people who had found their passion as a child, couldn’t stop creating, and eventually followed a path to put out amazing things. “What about me?” I thought as I reflected on skills I wish I had, like making soap or cooking or singing or dancing.

Yet all this time, I never realized that I have been creating. This very blog, in fact.

For some reason, because it’s not something I can open up an Etsy shop for or record a video or audio file of, I never considered it creating. Why did I not see it earlier? This IS content, and truly one of the original forms. And I (*gasp*) am creating it! Whoa.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve been writing for so much of my life that it became the norm. I don’t even notice all I’ve written. At 10 years old, I began keeping a daily journal. 13 years later, I stopped upon meeting Panda, but by then I had been blogging on the side. So then blogging started to take hold until it became the primary way I kept track of my life. I’d share thoughts and experiences and now it’s become a place for my memories. Whenever I want to share something with friends, I can easily do a search of the 2300+ entries on my blog to pull up a post. It’s very much a part of me and an extension of me.

This is what I’ve realized: I am creative. I write blog posts. I am inventive. I constantly think of new topics to share. I am a doer. I built and manage the website for it all.


Reading speed test

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , ,

I just tried a reading speed test and scored 317 on the first try, then 357 on the second. I don’t think I’d read much faster than that without compromising comprehension. Not that I feel being particularly fast at reading is going to make a huge difference, but it’s a fun little test to try!

ereader test
Source: Staples eReader Department

365great Day 365: perseverance

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , , ,

365great day 364: perseveranceI’m nothing if not stubborn. A year ago, I promised myself I would do this 365great project daily for the next 365 days. And so I’ve kept my eye on the goal, pushing through until now. It’s been quite an experience, constantly looking at the world around me and thinking of what I could highlight. There were days where I couldn’t find a good picture of what I wanted so I pushed it back or skipped it altogether, opting for something else that I could post a picture of. There were days where I had been so busy I barely had time at the end of the day, but I got a post together anyway. It was definitely challenging, but I’m happy to say I completed my project, not a day missing. Of course it wasn’t perfect and sometimes I was *technically* a little bit into the next day, but I always got one done for each day, no matter what was going on. Perseverance is a useful trait that can get you through all kinds of situations and you’ll come out proud of what you accomplished. It’s a great skill to practice, but boy am I glad it’s over.

Now I can soak in the glory of a year’s worth of greatness recognized. I still plan on putting out 365greats, but only periodically as things come up. After all, I think it’s a fabulous way to highlight what I find great. I still have a ton of things I’d like to mention anyway, so I’ll slowly get around to sharing them. Might as well spread the love!

365great Day 293: skateboarding

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , ,

365great challenge day 293: skateboardingOne of my favorite hobbies is skateboarding. I hardly get to go out cruising anymore, but back in my final year at UCLA, I sure did live it up. I’m partial to longboards because you can glide along much easier. In particular, I love the Loaded brand for their super flexible bamboo boards. It is so liberating to go down a street, sidewalk, or boardwalk with a gentle breeze caressing my face and the sun smiling down upon me. It’s also a very rewarding feeling when people gape at me and my awesome board, marveling that a girl just skated by them. I guess not many women decide to learn how to skate, so I feel somewhat accomplished that I can. Plus, it’s improved my balance immensely! 😛 There’s a great freedom in skateboarding that I just don’t feel with anything else and I love it.

365great Day 236: sailing

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

365great challenge day 236: sailingMy first major encounter with sailing was at Leadership Academy, which was a JROTC boot camp I attended in Newport, Rhode Island. One of the skills we were taught was sailing a tiny little sailboat operated by 4 people. The exact roles escape me now, but the sense of camaraderie and teamwork it took to successfully operate that sailboat have stayed with me over a decade later. We learned the techniques used to catch the breeze and got quite good! Many years later, I visited a friend and we got to enjoy sailing the Irish coast on his family’s yacht. Most recently, Panda and I soaked in the Hawaiian sun on a lovely excursion sailing with dolphins. Each of these times, I loved the sense of freedom you got from being out in the ocean and being so close to it. When you’re on a ship, the water is a distant thing; when you’re on a sailboat, you can just lean over the side to enjoy. I love connecting with the water that way. It’s such a great feeling!

Those artsy folk

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
collage of four different blogs with white backgrounds and bright colors

A few examples of those bright blogs with pretty pictures.

I’ve been following a lot of bloggers lately and they all seem to be so similar – happily married women enjoying life as a wife and mother, with loving husbands who may not get their blogging but support it, and a keen eye for design/fashion/beauty. They tend to have very nice, clean-cut, fresh-looking blogs with white backgrounds and cute, colorful themes/icons. Oh, and I don’t know if it’s just coincidence or what but they’re pretty much all Caucasian, with a few exceptions. More recently I also stumbled across a subset of these who are expats living and working abroad, usually with their spouse.

Then there’s me. I travel a good amount, but I’m not living abroad (unless you count China as my home base). I am not married nor do I have children, though I am engaged and will probably reach that stage in a few years. All of my blog themes of choice have been darker; I don’t think I ever had a white background. My space feels more “crowded” and less clean (much like my room). Generally there are some Asian-inspired elements as well. I’ve yet to see any other blog quite like mine and I’m not sure I’d ever want a blog just like those gals. On the other hand, I’m similar in that I’m also in a good relationship (but I’m only beginning to learn about all this domestic stuff – I don’t do home improvement projects or cook or do crafts like most of these ladies).

In a way, I’m jealous of these women. They’re so good at photography and portray things so beautifully, in ways I may never. But at the same time, I like being different. I like how my blog reflects my Asian heritage. I like that my look is more distinctive from all those others. I don’t mind that my pictures aren’t beautiful DSLR masterpieces (but I wouldn’t mind if they were!). I guess in not being so perfect, people can see that I’m just another person figuring her way through things. At least that’s what I hope! Maybe it just makes me seem less serious or more of an amateur. That may very well be true…

Whatever the case, I tried searching for Asian bloggers and came up with a few non-English ones or semi-famous Asian ones. What about Asian-Americans like myself, just the average Jane/Joe sharing random thoughts and experiences? If you know of any, please do share. I’m still trying to find bloggers who fit my own life experiences more and I’m coming up pretty empty. Not that I don’t enjoy reading the blogs of all the other ladies I’ve seen, but I want to find some that I am more similar to and can connect with more.

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