GrasshopperNotes.com - Thoughts for inspired living


September 15, 2017

Achilles Heel

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 4:20 am

Achilles HeelHere’s an excerpt from a Grasshopper Note from a decade ago on “Flashback Friday.” “Your strongest asset is your Achilles Heel.”

This seems like backwards logic. It is! Sometimes you have to look at something from a different vantage point to get a deeper meaning.

Imagine for a moment that you are one of the kindest people in the world. If you chart your kindness on a straight line on a scale from zero to one hundred, you are to the far right side of the middle. Expect to get shot in the foot if you identify with that position because your greatest strength will become your weakness.

Kindness is a wonderful trait and, like all traits, it has its limitations. How effective is it to be kind to someone who’s about to take your life? Reminds me of a story . . .

Many years ago I was reading the book JAWS 2. You know I had to be bored. The author tells a story of a young man being forced down to the ocean late at night at gunpoint. The gunman is set on murder. The hostage is thinking to himself that if I turn around real quickly, I’ll be able to knock the gun out of his hand and save my life. He never acted on that impulse. He also didn’t leave any heirs.

Suppose that you own the skill of identifying someone’s weakness or shortcoming the moment you meet them. Many would consider that to be an asset. After all, it would protect you from entering an agreement with someone who is unscrupulous. Hooray! That time it worked for you.

But let’s say you use that same skill to unflatteringly label someone. Next, you may get caught up in all the drama of what that label means to you. You would dismiss that person out of hand and never take the opportunity to go deeper with them.

Your strongest suit became your weakest because you never really explored the person. You got trapped in your labeling system. Your new best friend could be standing right in front of you and you wouldn’t recognize them because of how adept you are at spotting imperfections.

We are proficient at many things. The minute that you set your expertise in concrete, you will eventually sink to the bottom of the ocean. The secret is to recognize and honor your skill and then mentally let it go. This means not to call this skill you. It’s a part of you. Just like a hammer is part of your tool box. Who trims their prized petunias with a mallet?

Use your tool wisely and only for the job it’s suitable for. Search for the appropriate tool for each project and you become a craftsman.

Reminds me of a guy I used to work with in radio. He was a Top 40 DJ. He spoke fast and at the top of his voice. He was LOUD! He only had one delivery in his tool kit. It worked great when he did Rock & Roll concert commercials. You would laugh out loud if you heard the one he recorded for a retirement community.

If you prize your prettiness, someday it will leave you. If you identify with your possessions, you are a target.

The ancient Chinese Philosopher Lao-Tzu put it this way: “By not prizing goods hard to get, you will cause the people from robbing and stealing.”

Enjoy your skills and use them to your best advantage. Just don’t get married to them because you are destined for divorce.

Discover that you are deeper than your abilities, preferences and prejudices and you get to take a bigger, juicier bite out of the apple of life.

All the best,

John



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