I hope this post finds you well!
So, I just read a powerful book chapter, and it so made me think that I wanted to share.
Here’s an excerpt:
Chapter Title: I’ll Just Take the Shrimp: Embrace Your Weaknesses
Book: 18 Minutes by Peter Bregman, pp. 52, 53, 54
[Set up: Geoff, a very, VERY rich man, refuses to pay $1 extra–just $1!–to exchange salmon for shrimp on his salad, as he had desired to do.]
“What do you call that? Cheap? Strange? Dysfunctional? I call it the secret to his success. Not yours, by the way. His.
Geoff has a fixation on value. He can’t stand the idea of spending a single extra dollar if it doesn’t provide at least two dollars of extra value. Maybe that’s extreme. But so is a fortune (and foundation) of hundreds of millions of dollars. He’s not successful despite the quirk; he’s successful because of it.
And what’s made Geoff successful is that he’s not embarrassed about it. Or ashamed. he doesn’t hide or repress or deny it.
He uses it.
. . .
‘The most interesting novels,’ Newsweek editor Malcolm Jones wrote in a recent book review, ‘are the ones where the flaws and virtues can’t be pulled apart.’
That’s even truer for people. The most powerful ones don’t conquer their dysfunctions, quirks, and potentially embarrassing insecurities. They seamlessly integrate them to make an impact in the world.
Another man I know was the driving force behind health reforms that saved the lives of millions of people in the developing world. Literally millions. Certainly he achieved this feat with great strengths. . . .
But he had a quirk. He lived and worked in the hyper-intellectual world of the academia, where nuance is valued far above simplicity. Success as an academic traditionally lies in one’s ability to see and expound the gray.
But he never saw the gray. He saw the world in black and white, right and wrong. This simplistic view of the wold is something that people in academia try to hide or overcome all the time. But he never hid his simplicity. He embraced it. And that was the source of his power, the secret ingredient that enabled him to save so many lives. He cut through the morass of a debate and arrived at the simplicity of righteous action.
. . .
We all have quirks and obsessions like these. Maybe won don’t admit them, even to ourselves. Or we worry that they detract from our success and work hard to train ourselves out of them.
But that’s a mistake. Our quirks very well may be the secret to our power. . . .”
So, aside from your feelings about Bregman’s characterization of the academy, do you have a major quirk that you work?
I’m inspired! I keep centering on the sentence “They seamlessly integrate them [those quirks of theirs] to make an impact in the world.”
So, I’ve been viewing my quirk as a problem, and it would be AWESOME (and is highly possible, I think!!!) to have it work in my favor as a researcher-writer and joiner-to-my-field.
Just wanted to share! Thought-provoking, no?