Nobody’s Good At Everything: You Shouldn’t Want To Be

Nobody’s good at everything, so why is it so many people want to be good at everything when it’s not possible?

Perhaps it’s a perception that others put out that make the rest of us feel inferior.  Early in my career, when I wanted to make a significant impact, I wanted to be good at everything.  But honestly, it can lead you down a dark path of stress and overwhelm if you’re not careful.

Let’s face it, most of us try to hide our weaknesses because we don’t want to admit we’re not good at something.

We might feel:

  • Embarrassed
  • Unworthy
  • Stupid

After all, strengths get all the glory:-

  • The job title
  • The highest-profile
  • The awards

In a competitive workplace, it’s often thought best to downplay your weaknesses and focus on your strengths.  A sound philosophy, especially when nobody’s good at everything, and you shouldn’t want to be!

In this article, I want to share with you how strengths are developed and why some weaknesses are not the big downer you fear them to be.

Hint: some weaknesses are not worth worrying about.

nobody's good at everything we all have strengths and weaknesses

Traditionally we like to put our strengths under the magnifying glass and ignore our weaknesses

Humans Are A Monster Mix Of Abilities

People are a glorious mix of strengths and weaknesses which means that nobody’s good at everything.

It’s perfectly normal to be great at some things and struggle (or be completely rubbish)  with others. For example, you only have to look at the back of my car to realise that I’m useless when it comes to reversing!

In my experience as an HR Manager, I witnessed many employees in the workplace.  Some of them had strengths that appeared to come easily to them. However, some managed to develop strengths over time through some serious work and effort.

In the same way, I believe that some weaknesses are permanent while others are temporary and can be overcome. Let’s take a look-

Some Strengths Come Easily

Do you remember the Maybelline advert – you know, the cosmetic brand?  They used to say, maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s Maybelline.  Apologies if I’ve now gifted you an earworm.

What Maybelline highlighted was how some strengths, like beauty, are effortless. Or with a bit of effort and with their cosmetics you can have the same beautiful effect.

In other areas of life, you may be blessed with great genetics, intellect, or a natural talent that gives you an edge.

Some people are simply born with certain advantages, which may not take them much effort to shine. But you’ll also find that there are other things they’re not good at. Of course, nobody’s good at everything.

We often take for granted our strengths. However, we don’t often realise that what we do easily, others find difficult.

For example, maths is one of my weaknesses.  I can’t remember the number of times my husband has told me that a credit card has a limit and not a target!  I’m joking.

But seriously, maths has not come easily to me. For example, when I worked with a particular accountant, he could not understand why I struggled so much with the numbers when it seemed blatantly obvious.

To him, looking at spreadsheets all day was a beautiful sight.  He very quickly saw patterns in the numbers.  I, on the other hand, just saw a big headache. 

Nobody's good at everything sometimes extra effort is required

Just because it's hard and doesn't come naturally doesn't mean you can't achieve it

Nobody’s Good At Everything And Some strengths take time to evolve

But suppose you don’t have a natural advantage. In that case, you can learn to develop a particular strength through dedication, practice, and growth over time.

A deficit can become an asset (that accountant would be proud of me!) if you take action to refine it. Going from novice to master in most things is possible if you continue to focus your attention long enough.

Maths was an essential aspect of my job – just think payroll and salary reviews, and you’ll understand where I’m coming from.  To just sit back and say that I was rubbish was not an option.  So I spent time getting to grips with it.  I wouldn’t say I’m an expert, but I’m certainly much better than I was.

In the same way, if there was a strength you really wanted to develop, say you want to be good at an activity. Then, you’ll be able to turn what was once mediocre into something pretty brilliant if you put the effort in.

As you build your strength, it follows that you also build your confidence in that area.  And remember, with a growth mindset, you can consider that nobody’s good at everything, but you can be good at something.  The secret is to approach it with an open mind and willingness to learn.

Some weaknesses are permanent

However, despite our best efforts, sometimes we can’t always overcome a weakness.

While it’s good to put effort into overcoming specific weaknesses, there’s no shame in realising and accepting that some flaws aren’t going to change.

For example, you may never overcome a fear of heights or get control of motion sickness. You may never be able to run a 6-minute mile or stand up in front of thousands of people, but that’s ok.

Too often, we beat ourselves up that we Just. Can’t. Do. It.

We allow that weakness to define us.  But you have to remember that there are many, many things you can do very well.

At times like these, it’s best to remember that nobody’s good at everything.

In another article I highlighted Aristotle's famous saying 'The whole is greater than the sum of its parts'  In the workplace we join teams to make the best of other people's strengths and to compensate for any perceived weaknesses people might have.  You see, there is an expectation that no single person is going to be good at everything.

Stress can inhibit your ability to be good at everything

Stress can temporarily exacerbate any weakness you have, or even destroy a strength completely for a short while

Some weaknesses are temporary

Sometimes life throws us a curveball, and we suffer a weakness for a time.

I’m sure you can remember a time when you have been stressed and:

  • couldn’t hit deadlines because you were too overwhelmed
  • lost your shit because someone caught you on a bad day
  • made a wrong decision because you felt pressured

An emotional turmoil can make us lose a grip on what would normally be something we could handle pretty easily.

I’m sure you’ve also experienced ‘’one of those days’’ when something goes wrong, everything goes wrong.

So, whether it’s taking time to heal or recover from an illness or injury or putting focused energy on overcoming another type of setback, some weaknesses just take time to conquer.

I want to reassure you that temporary weaknesses are perfectly normal and happen to everyone.

Reasons Why Nobody’s Good At Everything And Why You Shouldn’t Want To Be

So you see, nobody’s good at everything, and you shouldn’t want to be. It takes time, patience and dedication to cultivate and manage strengths.

When you try to be great at everything can spread yourself too thin.  You zap energy that otherwise would go to things you already do well.

Besides, when you try to do too many things, you can water down your capabilities and take away the edge you have in specific areas.

Also, as a word of caution, if you try to be good at everything, it can damage your self-esteem if you place too much emphasis on what you can’t seem to master.

The solution?  Focus on what you do well, work to improve the things you can, and make peace with the areas you simply don’t have the time or talent for.

You aren’t going to be good at everything; nobody is. That’s the beauty of a balanced life and the gorgeousness of diversity.      

For further information on this topic, have a look at my article on Reasons To Absolutely Celebrate Your Unique Strengths And Weakness - it might just reassure you further!

About the author Alison

A qualified UK based coach with 30 years of experience in personal development.

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