Monday, August 4, 2008

Playing To Your Strengths

I'm not sure why I like this shot, I just do. It's taken from outside a church on Prince Edward Island following a wedding.

I tell people that before I joined the Army, twenty some odd years ago, I never witnessed a sunrise. Since then I don't think I've missed one. Like my father, I've always been an early riser. I like to get up and get my workout in, whether that's CrossFit or at the Aikido dojo, and once it's done it sets me up for the entire day. I don't think that there's any feeling like having worked out hard and then heading off to start the day.

That's my particular internal clock. Others are just the opposite and comfortably stay up to all hours of the night, struggling to wake up and make their way to school or work on time. Either one is fine, but I've learned over the years to play to my strengths. In graduate school I would wake up at 3:00 a.m. and study, read, and write until class began in the late morning. After attending class I'd head to the local stream to go fly fishing while my classmates trotted off to the library to start their daily routine.

I think that it's important to recognize your strengths and take advantage of them, while at the same time working on your weaknesses. A bagpipe teacher once told me that you should take you're weakness at and make it into a strength. In some ways I believe that's the definition of discipline, and the secret to becoming accomplished at whatever you choose to do. It all starts with having the wisdom to recognize one from the other and being honest with yourself about both.

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