One easy way to think about strengths and weaknesses is to try writing with your non-dominant hand. This means if you’re left-handed, switching to your right; and from your right to your left.

This also means that the results of your writing with your non-dominant hand will be critiqued mercilessly by people who have had it drilled into them that the results of your non-dominant handwriting matter more than anything else.

To make matters worse, you might not be promoted, chosen, or even given a passing grade (or granted something beyond a passing grade) if you don’t show that you’re putting in effort to get that non-dominant hand in line over the course of a lifetime.

There are all sorts of examples of this kind of deficiency based thinking in our culture (and in cultures around the world), but it manifests itself most notably in the following ways:

Waiting to be chosen by the boss, the teacher, or the person who’s got more status than you.

Raising your hand before answering a question, not because you don’t know the answer, but because the risk of being wrong is too great to bear.

Sitting through a performance evaluation waiting to be given a “passing grade” (i.e. a promotion) or waiting to be given a “failing grade” (i.e. a firing).

And there are more that could be listed.

These are all forms of (metaphorically) writing with your non-dominant hand.

The fact is, when you’re constantly being rewarded for producing mediocre work with your non-dominant hand (metaphorically speaking) the idea of choosing, developing, supervising, managing, and leading people through a strategic application of their strengths, sounds like a foreign concept.

But the thing is when the boss isn’t looking; when the teacher doesn’t choose us; when we don’t get the promotion or the advancement at work; some of us begin to go back, slowly but surely, to using our dominant hand.

Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if we just started people out that way from the beginning?