Feb 09 2007
As we go through life, we’re taught not to show weakness.
We also learn, many times the hard way, that our weaknesses can be used against us.
We learn to hide our weaknesses.
I was speaking with a friend the other day. His siblings were considered gifted students. All his life he has considered himself a bit slow. He may even have thought of himself as stupid.
Over the years I’ve seen that while it take him longer than most people to pick up new things, he does learn. He is not stupid at all. He just learns differently. He was telling me how difficult he found learning to be – that when he attended training courses for work, he had difficulty focusing. I could tell that he felt badly about himself.
I told him that I had the same problem. He was surprised. He considers me a bit quick on the uptake. I told him that I get extremely sleepy when attending training courses. It doesn’t matter how rested I am, if I’m in an all-day training course, by the 3rd hour, I’m sleepy. Didn’t even matter if I was really interested in the topic, I’d be ready to nod off after a few hours.
I told him that I used to feel really badly about this. There I was in training, training that cost some serious bucks, and I could barely keep my eyes open! Sometimes I failed and actually nodded off for a minute.
Then someone else told me that when the brain is presented with totally new information, when there is nothing for it to relate to, nothing for it to hang on to, the brain gets tired. That’s why most classes are set to 50-minute hours. That’s all our brain can take.
When the brain gets tired, it wants a break. It tries to take one by making us sleepy.
Once we make new connections and have something to relate the information to, we can stay focused.
“That makes total sense,” he said.
I also shared that I’m not the quickest learner in a class. I take my time. I work hard.
He told me he had no idea that I had the same problems he had. I could hear the wonder and surprise in his voice.
I could see that it made him feel better about himself.
Sharing a weakness can show empathy. You’re telling someone that they are not the only one.
It can also be inspiring.