play to your strengths
at some point in a person’s existence, as you play the game of life it might appear to be rigged. in favour of whom is anyone’s guess. what if i told you the game of life is actually rigged in your favour!
we spend much of our adult lives in search of a better version of ourselves - stronger, sexier, healthier, richer, happier, etc. what of the base version of ourselves, the one we instinctively and intrinsically retreat to in times of great joy or sorrow. yes, i’m referring to the inner child within us all.
the inner child
it seems like everyone wants to rediscover and nurture the inner child who often gets ignored in the process of adulting. have you thought about who that child is though?
we seem to crystallise into a certain character with specific traits and unique talents at an early age. we may then continue to play different roles as the phases of life greet us at each stage. developing new skills that we may need. an individual’s environment, community and circumstances play a major role in deciding what skills we pursue.
but let’s come back to our innate nature. regardless of how we manifest, each one of us are born with certain traits and talents unique to each of us. we often see this truth through other’s eyes in the form of compliments and via comparison. but how often and how long have you thought about who you are, what your powers are, what happens effortlessly ie. what feels like child’s play to you? it’s this base version of yourself that i want us all to remember & rediscover.
sure, plenty has changed since you were that naive young child and you might even believe you’ve gotten better. for now though, let’s leave the add-on skills you’ve gathered and focus on what you absolutely rocked at as a child.
think back to your happiest moments playing.
- what activity gave you the most joy?
- what capability was naturally effortless for you?
- what was the unique talent you were most known for?
- what early trait are you most proud of?
double down on your strengths
now that you have a good picture of who you were and what you could do effortlessly. whatever felt like child’s play to you then might just be the super power you didn’t know you have, even now!
it’s time to play around with how you can manifest those traits and talents in your daily life today. might be easier to explore this by yourself than in relation with others.
over time you’ll find comfort playing in single player mode. then you’ll be itching to explore multiplayer mode and start engaging with others. but before you do so, you would want to, and even need to double down on your strengths. beginning with discovery and ending with effortless application in action. you may wonder why play together when you can play alone, or why even play alone at all when you can play with others. think about it while you play more games.
down play your weaknesses
this doesn’t mean you’re expected to hide your weaknesses. in fact by weaknesses i mean the things you struggle to do. not necessarily things you can’t do but just the things that feel like work to do.
- things you don’t enjoy doing
- things that require painful struggle
- things that anyone else but you can do easily
this isn’t an exercise in comparison to leave one feeling dejected or defeated. rather it’s intended to help me understand the polarities i’m playing within - what i absolutely rock at 😎 and what i totally suck at 😆
once i’ve identified those traits that don’t come easy to me, i can now choose to invest my time & effort into reinforcing my strengths while still conscious not concerned of my weaknesses.
while this might seem like a cope, this makes me way better in multiplayer mode when i’m engaging with other players. after all, isn’t that what life is? to play together in the infinite game.
why not let those who are really good at something do what it is they effortlessly can? others can play to their strengths just i do to mine. this way, everyone in the playground feels effortlessly empowered to contribute to the larger game without struggle.
none of this means you can’t get better at what you’re not good at. on the contrary, you might find your weaknesses are less so. how?
play with, not against each other
simply by hanging out with other players who are great at what they do. what you lacked as innate talent you might pick-up as an add-on skill through osmosis.
besides it’s always more fun to learn from someone you’re playing with, one who’s respectful of your strengths and aware of your weaknesses. as are you of theirs. this playful ecosystem is the peer to peer playground experience we’ve always known and are now actively moving towards organisationally.
a playground is a space for peers to engage in interaction with, realising through each other what one’s own strengths and weaknesses are. learning to play with one’s strengths, support other’s weaknesses and win together. it’s a space where we explore ourselves in action, and others in interaction.
we treat the repository of knowledge to be more sacred than the space we experiment with knowledge in, but i’m rallying for the playground not library to be the centre of one’s learning universe.
how might we start seeing the world as a playground and everyone in it as players, playing the infinite game together?
if this seems too utopian an ideal to work towards, just do one thing - play to your strengths :)