By understanding the different kinds of weaknesses you have, you will find that you are a much stronger and better person through accepting what you can change and what you cannot. The other benefit of knowing about the different kinds of weaknesses is that you will be better prepared when dealing with people. Knowing how to prepare for a cultural or species weakness for example, will help prevent your getting into trouble as well as getting upset by what someone will do.
Here we will explore the limitations that we must endure as human beings, and the ones that we can correct which will drastically improve our life. We shall begin with dividing all weaknesses into four categories; species, cultural, physical body and personal.
Weaknesses of the species are more important than those of the culture and body because they are so common they are taken as normal and thus ignored. We will expand on these last.
The weaknesses of the culture are things that you have learnt which limit you. If you are a westerner, the idea of eating bugs may disgust you, but if you are in Africa for example, bugs may be the only food source, and the locals eat it, but you would be repulsed. Perhaps it is the type of bed that you have grown accustomed to and cannot sleep well on too soft or too hard a bed. Types of food, accommodation and other things which are very different from one culture to another, even the way of speaking, harsh or gentle, loud or soft, all these things are cultural differences which could make it uncomfortable for you to travel or deal with another person. Any such limitation is a cultural weakness.
These weaknesses are acquired through the culture and country you grow up in, and so are the easiest to change. It is important for you to know the difference between a cultural weakness and a personal one because the cultural ones are usually viewed as normal and natural behavior rather than as a weakness unless you travel to very different cultures and environments in which you can see the differences and admire the other ways. Sadly, this opportunity is very rare as the world becomes more standardized. Many aspects of your life will improve by finding cultural weaknesses, and reversing them into strengths.
The weakness of the physical body is obvious, how it can be hurt and how easily it gets sick. We can do nothing about these weaknesses other than eat and exercise well, keep ourselves in as good a physical condition as possible, and avoid danger and damage as much as we can. Being aware of these weaknesses will keep you alert and more thoughtful about your future health.
Then there are your personal weaknesses. These are habits and preferences, likes and dislikes, which make you do or not do certain things. Personal weaknesses are fears or limitations you have that most people even in your same country or family do not. You may have a weakness for good food, and so overeat all the time. You may have a fear of water and so cannot partake of many adventures, perhaps a fear of flying and so you cannot travel. These weaknesses can be overcome and they are the ones to focus on along with those of the species.
Personal weaknesses are based in your personality ego and are learnt through bad experiences or being told and taught what you should be afraid of. An overprotective parent will tell the child that this and that is dangerous and to be scared or not touch something at all. That will develop a learnt fear and thus limiting weakness. For example, I used to have a totally inexplicable fear of knives. One day I was visiting my mother and she mentioned how scared of knives she is. It clicked that my fear was foolishly adopted and instantly my fear dissolved. One less personal weakness!
If you grew up in a large family, you may have a need to always be around people, or you get nervous. The opposite holds equally true, having a fear of being in big crowds because you grew up in the countryside with lots of space and few people around. Either of these conditions may prevent you from going to places that you would benefit from but are scared or dislike going to. When I lived in upstate New York (countryside), some friends from a small town in Colorado came to visit. I wanted to take them to see Manhattan but they refused. They were simply too scared to be in a big city with that many people!
Limitations are weaknesses, and there are ways to conquer many of our personal weaknesses. You can start with simply trying to do what you are scared of as best you can and see what changes. You will find as you work on the species aspect, that your personal aspect will improve automatically. Personal weaknesses are always due to events creating a fear by implanting a memory. Reviewing the memory and facing the cause of the fear helps eliminate it.
Now we will go deeper into the weaknesses of the species. Like it or not, you are subject to the same flaws that effect all humans. You do have the choice however, to put in effort to overcome these limitations, however if you do not fully acknowledge that you are subject to them, there is no hope.
I will tell you what I have discovered over my life in many countries, and I suggest that you verify through reviewing your experiences, or start to take note of weaknesses you notice as you live each day. This list is far from complete or it would be a very long list, and it is more useful to you if you look and find some for yourself. This helps conquer the first weakness on my list. I would also like to make it clear before we go further, that not all people have all these weaknesses, but rather all weaknesses are either active or dormant within all of us. It is a matter of what you have conquered, suppressed or controls you.
The good side is that there is a benefit to many of these weaknesses if they are understood and refined to be used properly. Where I can find a good side, that has also been described.
Just because you may not see a weakness in you that is on my list, does not mean that you are not subject to it coming out given the right circumstances. I am sure you have seen people change when certain events happen or they enter a different phase of their life. The only way to a continually growing life is to be aware of where we may get tripped up, this is the second item on the list.
Lazy. Humans are lazy by the design of nature. This is a good quality gone bad with lack of comprehension and guidance. If used correctly, being lazy is efficient. If you are lazy, you basically do not want to work, this is a good idea because the more we work at anything, the more energy we use and stress we put on our body, which will wear it out quicker. Athletes know about this very well as their bodies wear out and have a lot more trouble than other people their age when they hit 50 or 60 because of the overuse when they were younger.
Laziness is a natural tendency because it is part of the design of the human animal, a species quality to help preserve the body and keep it ready with lots of energy to run as fast as it can if a lion comes round to eat you. We must take into account the timing of the design of the body with the environment at the time. If I spent all day working without rest, then at dusk when the lions go on their hunt, I would not have enough energy left to save myself. And so, I have a natural desire to rest and not work too hard in the day so I have more energy at night.
Efficiency is the modern benefit which laziness can be turned into. I personally am a very lazy person, I like to have lots of free time and do what I want. In order to have my evening or weekends free, I would work extremely quickly and efficiently at any task I had, be it my job or cleaning the house, so that I had more free time. I was known as a highly efficient man, but I keep saying that I am just lazy, I do not want to work, so I get the work done as quickly as I can.
Arrogance. This is the quality of thinking we know it all and thus closing our mind to learning anything new or resolving a problem. Arrogance leads us into all sorts of conflicts and troubles, as well as getting a bad reputation. In its subtle form, when you cannot be called arrogant, it limits you by making you think that you do not have the particular flaw or limitation, or that you already know something someone is telling you. This shutting down of the open mind causes you to miss information and thus make mistakes.
The good side of arrogance is confidence. A highly self-confident person is often considered very arrogant. This quality of strength gives a person the courage to face new challenges or be the innovator, ready to stand up and be the first to do things. Every great leader, inventor and certainly explorer could be seen as having at least a touch of arrogance to which they would owe their success.
The balancing point to keep arrogance from being negative is objectivity. Being able to see all things as they are rather than as you think they are, and most importantly, when you are wrong, being ready to fully and sincerely admit you are wrong and immediately make the necessary correction.
Unreliable. This is a very common flaw that we all deal with on a regular basis. People will say one thing with total sincerity, and then minutes or days later will completely back out even possibly denying they even made that statement or agreement. This flaw is the weakness of avoiding responsibility for your words and actions. The effects of this weakness are that no one will trust you and eventually not want to help you because you will not be there for them.
The only positive way I can see this is that it allows for the flexibility of adapting to ever changing circumstances. In our modern world, we just get known as someone not to be trusted, or in the case of business, a company not to do business with if possible.
To correct this flaw, you must honor every commitment you make. Eventually, you will learn to think before speaking and agreeing to things. The first benefit is that you will gain a reputation of being very reliable, and thus rare and valuable, but even more importantly, you will soon stop getting yourself into situations that you regret.
Selfish and Greedy. These are an interesting pair of siblings. They are spurred from the natural self-preservation instinct, survival of the fittest. Long ago, we needed to grab more to eat because we did not know when the next meal would walk by the cave for us to kill and catch. Then it became wars or weather changes causing drought or locusts so we had to store up enough food just in case.
Overall a very wise way of living to survive in times of hardship. In our modern world, we have adapted this otherwise good drive to grow and protect our family in the case of turning events into a lust for more and more.
This combines with laziness to want more so we work less. Greed is not only for possessions and money, it could be for time. You may be greedy to get as much time out of another person. For example, if someone giving you advice or is interesting to talk to, you may want to get as much out of them as possible even if they are busy and have other things to do. You may be greedy for all sorts of things. Examine anything that you want more of in this light. It could be energy, companionship, knowledge, or any other desire you have. How much of it do you want and are you taking more than your share. Then look at what you want in perspective of greed considering our next flaw.
Cheap and Stingy. We all love a good deal, discounts make us very happy, and that is why some stores are perpetually ‘on sale’. The problem is that often the best deal is not the long term cheapest purchase. Another trouble is that in trying to save a little money, you may turn someone against you, for example it may be a dinner out with a friend and you try to cut a bit off your side of the cost or avoid reciprocating for something nice they did.
In business, if you try to deliver the least possible quality or service to increase your profits, or even worse, not make up for your mistakes at your own cost, that will turn away customers. This flaw is obvious in most cases, but look for it in consideration of time. How much time will you spend with someone, or on a task that needs to be done. How much will you cut corners or try to save a few pennies at the cost of many dollars.
The useful side is of course conservation of assets, mainly food. If you have to make your food supply last all winter, you cannot hold big parties and spread the food around to all your neighbors, especially if they are going to be stingy with their supply when yours runs out.
This human nature is what makes us stingy, that everyone else is stingy and greedy so we must protect ourself. It comes back to the instinct for survival.
Short Sighted. This is not about eyesight, and is more of a modern flaw based on an ancient natural one. As we have discovered, many of the flaws we have come from a healthy and good quality of nature, self-preservation. These good instincts have gone bad as we have not adapted to the modern world by releasing these fears which are no longer valid. By bringing in outdated qualities to the modern world, we have made a mess of what could be a very pleasant and healthy society.
The flaw of short sightedness is that we do not see the inevitable repercussions of our actions and do things that we later regret. This flaw is a distorted result of the aspiration of the spiritual seeker to be present in the moment. Be here now, be present, these are the mental states that promise enlightenment and unity with the Divine. Excellent qualities for a monk and taught to the masses through religious teachings, but distorted and destructive when unwisely applied to everyday life.
There is no need to give examples of this common problem creator, but my favorite one is the difference between picking apples off the tree one by one and leaving the tree to grow and produce a new crop next year versus cutting down the tree to get them all. Greed mixed with laziness in a very short sighted view.
The cure for this flaw is to carefully consider all the possible outcomes before you take action.
Lack of Appreciation. We all know when we have been hit by this flaw but rarely see when we do it ourselves. One of my teachers put it best when he said, ‘Always pay your debts.’ We owe debts of a financial nature of course, but the most powerful debts are the debts of knowledge, of friendship, of sacrifice. We owe a debt to the trees for producing the oxygen we breath. Everyone knows this, but we fail to pay that debt by maintaining the forests, rather the species recklessly cuts down the forests which provide the air we breath and one day, we may go too far. If you fail to recognize all the debts you owe for your very existence in every aspect of your life, and do not give appropriate appreciation, the supply may be cut off.
One wise old friend told me what the two most important professions to our modern world are. Farmers and garbage collectors. We need both to keep us alive in our cities. Next time the garbage truck goes by, just think about the state of your city if no one collected the rubbish and it just piled up on the street. That should make you want to get out of your car and thank the stranger for keeping your life clean.
Over-Sensitivity. This is a very tricky weakness that is really more cultural. Prevalent in the western world, and spreading like a cancer we should consider carefully. Everyone knows someone who is very sensitive, you have to say the right things carefully, or risk getting them very upset.
This weakness has grown out of the political correctness movement. The more we allow ourselves to follow this idea of personal boundaries and PC culture, the weaker the species becomes. It is now so easy to hurt someone emotionally but the same words would have had no effect or have been considered normal some years ago. This proves it is not the words but the individuals who are becoming weaker and hyper-sensitive.
This weakness is used as a powerful weapon to control people by your own emotional weakness. It is like finding something that you do not know about, then seeing what it can do to control other people, and going wild with your new found power. The child has taken control of the kingdom with its wild temper tantrums.
There is no good use of this as it is not natural but man-made. It is entirely destructive and must be avoided by your own efforts to show you have no concern over names and labels, but simply want to gain understanding and get done what needs to be done.
Emotions. Humans are subject to emotional swings that come in short or long cycles. Negative experiences wear away at motivation and the fire for life which eventually leads to having no energy to do anything. This is the birth of the saying, ‘I am getting too old for that.’
It is not physical age alone, although in some cases true, it is more the emotional age, the wearing down of the youthful vigor of excitement to learn new things and trust people to do what they say. All of the flaws listed here add to the emotional swings through filling our life with frustrations for what other people do while ignoring what we ourselves do.
When we take each day with an objective view, and live consciously, working on eliminating our flaws, we will have a far more balanced life with less emotional swings. However if we do not acknowledge the flaws that rule us, their causes and how to correct them so they are used beneficially, then we will be swinging like Tarzan through an emotional jungle until the vine breaks or we smack into a tree.
Regardless of what you may do to balance yourself, you still have to account for the emotional swings of other people and how that will effect their actions, By understanding how a person or group of people will act, you prevent yourself from disappointments and emotional swings.
Self-Lying and Buffers. The most difficult problem to catch, due to its entire purpose. Self-lying is simply that, you are lying to your self to hide from reality. This is the case of being faced with a mistake you have made, and denying it. We have all faced people making statements which have left our mouth hanging open by their obvious ludicrous denial of the obvious. We wonder how could a sane person not see themselves doing such a thing.
The reason we do not see our own self-lie is by using what I call buffers to avoid or justify our actions. Self-lying is avoidance of reality and buffers maintain the lie by justifying our actions or creating some imaginary scenario to validate our opinions. You see other people do this, but now you must look for this flaw in yourself. A common self-lie is ‘I am brutally honest with myself.’
When someone disputes your actions, or you find yourself denying responsibility for something, put in every effort to view the situation as an objective judge without concern of your personal benefit or loss in the situation. If you can start to see your own lies and buffers to avoid facing reality, you will find many less troubles in your life.
I knew a fellow who met a new girlfriend. She was a heroin addict. He convinced himself that he could reform her and that she wanted to change. In the end, he embezzled so much money from his fathers company in which he worked to fund her habit, that the company went bankrupt. All to support this girl and his own self lie that he could save her, while the buffers made him ignore the fact that she simply did not want to stop. A drastic example of which I am sure you can find many situations in your own life, be it in relationships or in business that you can relate to in hindsight. Hopefully you will work with this information and use foresight in the future.
These are only a few of the flaws inherent in the species, and as you have seen, they are truly inherent in the species by nature, but are good things that we have turned bad. Nature does only good, hence the name that we have now come to know as God is in some teachings referred to as “The Good”
I will finish with the greatest power turned into weakness that makes humans different than all other creatures on earth, the cause of all our troubles and distortions of good things into bad.
Freedom Of Choice. The most powerful quality a human can have, the ability to be creative and choose right from wrong, but now virtually atrophied since a young age when we used this great freedom to choose to imitate others instead of cultivating our own individuality.
This has created a species of foolish clones hurting without thinking, limiting themselves by accepting what they have been told, and believing any lie and rubbish that they are fed.
Use your freedom of choice to choose how you feel and what you think. Use it to correct your weakness and live a life of balance, success and happiness.