If you want to excel at anything, it’s not enough to fix your weaknesses. You also need to leverage your strengths. When Albert Einstein failed a French exam, if he had concentrated only on his language skills, he might never have transformed physics. When J.K. Rowling realized that she was highly disorganized, if she had focused solely on becoming more orderly, she might never have honed her storytelling skills to write Harry Potter. And had Dennis Rodman worked exclusively on overcoming his weakness in shooting free throws, he might have never become a seven-time NBA rebounding champion.
Before you can leverage your strengths, you need to figure out what they are. To identify their unique capabilities, millions of people have taken self-assessments like Gallup’s StrengthsFinder. After filling out a survey about what you do best, you get to read a report on your top talents. When I completed one of these self-assessments in 2004, I was pleased that kindness and generosity stood out as one of my signature strengths.