The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Developing a strength

To this day I remember when I, as a kid, wanted to tighten a nut on a screw. I was using a socket wrench and tightening it. To make sure it was tight I continued. Almost at the very moment when my father said that there is a moment of tightening after which things become very loose, it came loose. I had not sensed that it was becoming tight and didn’t realize that I had gone over the tipping point.

I have since then always kept that image in mind, learning how too much strength easily turns into a weakness.

In life, it can be difficult to realize when one of our strengths turns into a weakness.

One of the reasons strengths develop is when we’ve learned at a very young age that something we do pleases others or that it serves us to feel safe. It starts at an age where things develop from instinct and without rational thinking. It’s an age when the main criteria to use a behavior is that it works. As long as it delivers what one is looking for it is seen as the way to go.

What we don’t know at that point is if it is the best way to get something or if it is the best way under the given circumstances. As it delivers something valuable it is being used. In some cases, it becomes a practice that leads to developing a strength.

As we grow older, the strength continues to feel useful to us. And we’ll use it anytime it is useful, but also in those moments in which we are in need. Beyond being a strength, it also delivers something we need. Where in the past it used to deliver food, it now delivers dopamine. It has become the reason why we continue to train that strength, but now we look for dopamine. Whenever the dopamine comes in, the old sensation of “this works” reappears.

There are many good reasons to believe that this process transforms a strength into a weakness. It becomes our go-to solution to make things happen and enhance our performance. Eventually, it replaces other activities that serve to refill other energy reservoirs.

To someday reach a stage where overusing this strength has become an energy drain.






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