Greatly Flawed: Finding Greatness in the Strengths Hidden Behind Our Flaws

by Sarah McVanel, Chief Recognition Officer, Greatness Magnified

image of a napkin with a pen resting on it with writing that says accept your flawsThe things we see in others as flaws might just be some of their greatest assets. The same goes for us. In fact, anyone who’s diggin’ pop psychology might also say (wait for it) that the flaws we see in others reflect what we don’t value within ourselves.

Do you stop reading here and write it all off as psychobabble? Or might there be a gift of looking at what might be generally labelled as a “flaw” (in ourselves or others) and being curious about what greatness lies behind it?

In other words, how do we recognize what we usually don’t value, don’t understand, and possibly find frustrating?

How do we unconditionally recognize, flaws and all?

Greatly Flawed

We asked ChatGPT – an open artificial Intelligence that has the power to answer questions – to “list some flaws that might actually be strengths,” and here’s what it said:

  • Perfectionism: While perfectionism can sometimes lead to obsessive behaviour and anxiety, it can also be a strength when channelled into productive and constructive work. Perfectionists often have high standards and attention to detail, which can lead to high-quality work and success.
  • Impulsivity: While impulsivity can sometimes lead to poor decision-making and reckless behaviour, it can also be a strength in certain situations. Being willing to take risks and act quickly can sometimes lead to unexpected opportunities and success.
  • Sensitivity: While sensitivity can sometimes lead to overreacting or being overly emotional, it can also be a strength in terms of empathy and understanding. People who are sensitive to the needs of others can be excellent listeners and supporters.
  • Stubbornness: While stubbornness can sometimes lead to conflict and inflexibility, it can also be a strength when used to stand up for oneself or one’s beliefs. People who are stubborn and refuse to give up easily can be determined and persistent in pursuing their goals.
  • image of a finger holding a block with an F as the first letter that spells out flawIntroversion: While introversion can sometimes lead to social anxiety or isolation, it can also be a strength in terms of creativity and focus. Introverted people often have rich inner lives and can be highly productive when given space and solitude.
  • Impatience: While impatience can sometimes lead to frustration and rushed decision-making, it can also be a strength in terms of productivity and efficiency. Impatient people can be highly motivated and driven to get things done quickly and efficiently.
  • Overthinking: While overthinking can sometimes lead to anxiety and indecision, it can also be a strength in terms of careful planning and attention to detail. Overthinkers can be highly analytical and able to anticipate potential problems and outcomes.
  • Arrogance: While arrogance can sometimes lead to a lack of empathy and difficulty working with others, it can also be a strength in terms of confidence and assertiveness. Arrogant people can be highly self-assured and able to take charge and lead effectively.
  • Disorganization: While disorganization can sometimes lead to chaos and inefficiency, it can also be a strength in terms of creativity and flexibility. Disorganized people can be highly adaptable and able to think outside the box.
  • Bluntness: While bluntness can sometimes lead to hurt feelings and conflict, it can also be a strength in terms of honesty and directness. Blunt people can be highly transparent and able to communicate their thoughts and feelings clearly.

Thanks, ChatGBT. We’ve got it from here.

Now, take a look at that AI-generated list. Can you see how these “flaws” have considerable benefits in our workplace, home-based and even community space? Can you see how you could recognize the greatness in even the hardest to understand? Can you leverage and appreciate each “flaw”? And can you see how what one may deem a flaw, another might see the inverse?

Create Your Own Flaws List

Let’s befriend our “flaws” and, in turn, unconditionally recognize our greatness. Here’s what to do next: Create your very own “Flaws List.”

  1. image of a woman hugging herself to accept her flawsWrite down all of your flaws (that you believe about yourself or others have labelled as flaws)
  2. Write down the asset of this flaw (hint: these are the things others compliment you on, and you think or say, “what really?!“)
  3. Highlight any flaws where others do not clearly see it as an asset (i.e., they do not notice the resourceful version of the “flaws”)
  4. Brainstorm ways to make your assets seen and leveraged as a gift.

Rather than feeling a sense of shame, confusion or uncertainty, get up close and personal with your flaws (as perceived by you or others). Recognize the both/and; yes, flaws can be a challenge, and not everyone values them; however, our liabilities can often be assets. And that’s OK.

Be interesting—flaws are interesting. Perfection isn’t.

We are all perfectly imperfect. And this is perfectly great.

Check out these past blog posts for more inspiration:

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”

– Mother Teresa

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