When I was about 5 years old, at home with my sister, it seemed I could never turn down a challenge, even if I knew it wouldn't be fair.
The Jeopardy Challenge
The challenge was simple, watch Jeopardy on tv with my sister, and see who could guess more answers right. To the winner went the spoils. The challenge was my sisters idea. And for some reason, I thought eventually I'd win, even though my sister was a teenager, and nine years older.
But at my young age, it turned out my knowledge of the French Intellectual Enlightenment Movement of the 17th and 18th centuries, World Geopolitics, Potpourri, or Word Origins was, well, limited.
So, I'd lose ever time.
In fact, it would be a small miracle if I managed to get any answer at all.
And yet, each week, when my older sister challenged me, I played.
The outcome of this continuous error was I'd have to be my sister's 'slave for the day.'
This role meant I'd be asked to make my big sister freshly squeezed lemon water beverages with just enough lemon, and not too much ice.
Or, before the time of remote controls, I'd be asked to sit up close to the TV and change tv channels manually, in case my sister got bored of whatever she was watching.
Or, my job would be to answer her landline phone, all the way downstairs in the basement, like her little receptionist, and take messages, if she didn't feel like answering it.
I failed to embrace the fact that my older sister was just a bit more clever then I was. She had knowledge and experience that I just couldn't overcome. But this lack of knowledge wasn't my true Achilles Heel:
An Achilles' heel or Achilles heel is a weakness in spite of overall strength, which can lead to downfall. While the mythological origin refers to a physical vulnerability, idiomatic references to other attributes or qualities that can lead to downfall are common.
What I failed to realize was this:
We all have weaknesses in life, things that can keep us down, or hold us back. But if we're willing to embrace our weakness and understand them, we can learn how to work around them, and not get stuck in-spite of them.
Having a weakness, not being good at something, isn't the problem. The problem is when we fail to realize what our weaknesses are, or when we dwell on them and put ourselves down, or try to hide them from us or others.
And so the answer is this...
Embrace Your Abilities to Grow Your Confidence:
Confidence is the ability to say "I'm not that good at this" and be ok with it, and move on.
Confidence is the ability to say "I'm not going to let this apparent weakness define me."
Confidence is the ability to say "I'm ready to move on, and focus on my strengths."
My Sweet Revenge
Eventually, a year or so later, I figured out how the VCR worked, and taped a live episode of Jeopardy. I watched that episode several times that day, memorizing the answers.
Later that night, when my sister finally entered the living room, I casually pressed play without her detecting anything. I asked her if she wanted to play a round of Jeopardy, which she of course did, saying she could use a nice cold drink.
Then, miraculously, I started belting out the answers. One after another.
My sister was astonished. She was speechless.
I had finally won.
I had outsmarted my sister.
It turned out I had another type of intelligence. I'd formed a creative plan to work around the problem. I worked hard to prepare, and I executed to perfection.
When I asked my sister for my iced water lemonade she of course refused, and reminded me I didn't even like lemon water, and that I was only 6 years old, and she was 15, and that there was no way in hell she'd be my slave for the day.
But it didn't matter, lemonade is kinda gross without any sugar in it, and I felt satisfied all the same.
Because in that moment, I had focus on my strengths, and when I did, I realized I could never truly lose again.
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