When pursuing self-improvement, it can be hard to know where to start.
You want to be the most effective version of yourself, capable of doing anything you put your mind to. You have skills you could improve, skills you could master, or skills that you could start learning.
I’ve come to believe that when you’re trying to increase your effectiveness, you need to start with the weaknesses that make you least effective or ineffective.
If you have a weakness or weaknesses that are consistently getting in the way of your goals, those are the things you need to fix. Immediately. Figure out which skills in your life are consistently your weakest, and have caused your biggest setbacks – then work on mastering your best skills, or learning a new skill.
Think back to the 4 or 5 biggest setbacks you’ve faced – ones where by your own lack of skill, you didn’t get the result you wanted. Chances are, you have a few skills that didn’t just fail you in the moment, but leave you in the bottom 25% of that skill compared to others. While your best skills and virtues are something to be proud of, those skills in the bottom 25% are going to hold you back as long as you don’t work on them.
Maybe you have an amazing and fashionable wardrobe, but also have the worst stage fright in the world – work on mastering your emotions before becoming a fashion icon.
Maybe you’re an amazing chef, but can’t keep track of your bills – master running your household before running a kitchen.
Maybe math is the easiest thing in the world for you, but you barely passed your English classes – start a small reading habit to improve your reading (even Paul Erdős needed to read!) before trying to win the Fields Medal.
Your medals are great – but if you don’t plug a few of your gaps, it’ll be harder to earn more.
This isn’t advice to become a jack of all trades, master of none. You don’t have to master your weaknesses, just make these areas good enough that they don’t interfere with your goals.
Fix your weaknesses first.