What Are Your Personal Strengths and Weaknesses?

Superman Strengths and Weaknesses

Do you know your personal strengths? A very easy question, but if I would be the interviewer in an job-interview, what would you answer? Can you name your biggest personal strengths instantly?

Why it’s Good to Know Your Biggest Personal Strengths

Knowing your personal strengths and weaknesses can help you a lot in choosing the right career or making good decisions. Because if you are able to focus what you do around your personal strengths, you have the chance to create something remarkable, while making it look like it’s almost effortless for you.

Your biggest personal strength is what is easy for you.  [Tweet this!]

And probably not easy for everyone else. This is what you do best and where your real talents are. If you want to have a comfortable life you should focus on using those strength to the fullest, because that’s where you have an competitive advantage and where you can create the most value for other people.

Also, similar to knowing your personal values, knowing your strengths and weaknesses raises your self-awareness and gives you clarity.

Define Your Personal Strengths

When you try to find your own strength, think about what comes naturally easy for you. And don’t choose attributes that you would like to have or that you admire. This is a typical trap. Especially avoid those which seem hard to do for you.

Instead choose those that are describing your core. What is so obvious that you almost doesn’t notice it in you anymore, since it is like your very nature?

Here are some examples of typical people’s strengths:

Action-Oriented Adventurous Analytical Artistic
Athletic Authentic Caring Clever
Compassionate Charming Communicative Confident
Courageous Creative Curious Determined
Disciplined Educated Empathetic Emotional Intelligent
Energetic Entertaining Fast Flexible
Focussed Good-Looking Helping Inspiring
Intelligent Leadership Learning Motivated
Optimistic Open-Minded Organized Outgoing
Patient Precise Responsible Self-Controlled
Speaking Spontaneous Social / People Skills Strategic Thinking
Team-Oriented Thoughtful Trustworthy Visionary
Warm Willpower Wisdom

Choose those that fit your strengths and then compare them against each other to bring them into an order. 1 is your biggest strength and 5 (or do 10 if you like) is at the 5th place. When you compare them ask yourself: “What can I do better?”

My own biggest personal strength are:

  1. Strategic Thinking
  2. Focussed
  3. Learning
  4. Creative
  5. Seeing the Essence (This is my “Unique Strength“)
  6. Open-Minded
  7. Inspiring
  8. Visionary
  9. Willpower
  10. Confident

I would love to read your own list in the comments below!

It can also be interesting think about a big strength you have that is relatively rare in most other humans. For instance strategic thinking is a relatively rare quality, while for instance confidence or creativity is not really. So when you are thinking about your career, maybe you should build your work around those personal strengths that you do possess but most other people don’t. Then you can create the most value for others.

It’s also important not to confuse strengths with likes. What you like to do is not necessarily what you do best. It can be, but it’s not a given. Of course, for a successful career you want to combine these two in order to overlap your strengths with your passion.

Find Your Personal Weaknesses

Equally important as knowing your personal strengths is knowing your personal weaknesses. Those are attributes that you will have a hard time when doing it, it’s difficult for you. That’s why you should try to let people who are better than you do this.

Everybody has weaknesses. It’s a natural thing, humans are not perfect. So don’t be embarrassed to look at your weaknesses. It will help you to improve yourself to know them.

And here are some examples of typical people’s weaknesses:

Aggressive Arrogant Bossy Chaotic
Close-minded Complaining Contemptuous Controlling
Cynical Fearful Greedy Hesitant
Ignorant Impatient Impulsive Indifferent
Insensitive Intolerant Irresponsible Lazy
Lethargic Loose-tongued Mistrustful Moody
Naive Negative Obstructive Passive
Prejudiced Reckless Rude Selfish
Shallow Short-sighted Shy Sloppy
Stubborn Slow Strict Undisciplined
Vague Wasteful

There are probably more, so don’t hesitate to use them and write them into the comments.

Here are my personal top 5 weaknesses:

  1. Lethargic
  2. Ignorant
  3. Slow
  4. Stubborn
  5. Hesitant

So I have to work on those weaknesses in order to not make them matter too much in my life. Everybody has 1 or 2 weaknesses that you have to keep in check. If you don’t they will produce negative consequences and may even disrupt your efforts while you use your personal strength.

So identify them, and if you are brave enough, write them into the comments below as well! :-)

Should You Improve Weaknesses or Focus on Strengths?

That’s a tough question. In general it’s much better to focus on using your personal strengths and try to control your weaknesses. A good business strategy can be to focus your energies on your strength only and try to outsource or delegate tasks that would bring you into your personal weaknesses.

On the other hand, facing your weaknesses can have a lot of potential for personal growth. If you are not good at something, improving even slightly can have a nice positive impact on your overall quality of life.

An example would be if you are a lousy cook, improving your cooking skills slightly could give you benefits in everyday life. You don’t have to be a master to profit from cooking. Same would be if you are not good at sports. Starting to run can be really helpful for your overall health, although you will never run a marathon or start at the olympic games.

I remember a documentary about Michael Jordan where it said that Jordan was never good at shooting from the distance, but he improved it to a master level by constant practice. Same with his defensive game. It said “He asked what are my weaknesses and how can I make those my strength?”
Well… I would say these where no real weaknesses, they just weren’t his absolute strengths in the game. Still, by almost fanatic practice he improved even this part of his game. It may would have given other results if he would had to play chess against Garry Kasparov on the basketball court… ;-)

Conclusion

So knowing your personal strengths and weaknesses can give you a lot of insights in understanding and changing yourself. And it will help you to make the right decisions.

Please do the little exercise and reveal your own personal strengths and weaknesses. Write them into a comment and I might comment back on them later.

About the author Myrko Thum

I'm author of this site and I could coach you to make a giant leap ahead in your personal life and your business. I founded Personal Breakthrough Academy, a powerful personal development video course to create your personal breakthrough. Sign up below to get started:

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43 Comments

  • Vincent Nguyen

    March 5, 2013

    I think my two biggest weaknesses is my arrogance and impatience.

    It’s difficult sometimes to filter myself and watch my boastfulness. My confidence then slowly becomes that of arrogance even when I’m not trying to be. I’m working on it and it is getting much better, but I am well aware of the fact that it is a minor problem.

    I also expect too many results too quickly. It’s a good sign of ambition which I guess I can say is one of my strengths, but impatience can be a hit to the ego. I feel discouraged at times due to my impatience, but I’m getting there.

    There’s no shame in being hesitant, Myrko. As long as you remember to take action when it counts. :)

    ReplyReply
  • Myrko Thum

    March 5, 2013

    Yep, and I have (or maybe had, being more experienced now) a similar issue with expecting results too fast. It leads to frustration, one of my “favorite” emotions. But over time you learn to deal with your weaknesses much better, so it happens less frequently for me now.

    ReplyReply
  • Myrko Thum

    March 5, 2013

    Btw. my girlfriend says my biggest strength is Calmness.

    I wonder if this is true of if this is just in opposition to her biggest strength ;-)

    ReplyReply
  • James

    March 5, 2013

    Hi, a useful exercise for us all, many thanks. When I take a look at myself, I realise that a lot of the extremes of my younger self have calmed down although some of my behaviour, I realise, must seem a bit polarised to others. Sometimes I am calm, focused, warm and and creative. On a bad day, my perception of the world slips and I end up in the most foul, negative places where I am cynical, moody, selfish and lethargic and quick to point the finger to my circumstances. Weirdo!

    However, I can recognise the things that worked in the past (job that I found fulfilling and discipline through kung fu) and am working to knit them back into my life.

    Have a good one and I hope you get some interesting responses!

    ReplyReply
  • Myrko Thum

    March 5, 2013

    Good feedback James. Indeed we fluctuate a lot. Depending on our moods weaknesses or strengths show themselves.

    ReplyReply
  • JW

    March 6, 2013

    Strengths:
    1. Intuition – is not on the list but does it count?
    2. Research
    3. Adventurious
    4. Authentic
    5. Wise

    Weaknesses
    1. Chaotic
    2. Organizanized (is this one?)
    3. Impatient
    4. Undisciplined
    5. Undisciplined.

    ReplyReply
  • Myrko Thum

    March 6, 2013

    Intuition counts for sure! Is your second weakness Organized? Don’t think that’s a weakness !? :)

    ReplyReply
  • Rittie

    March 7, 2013

    The problem is recognizing the weaknesses and stopping them before they create problems. I am spontaneous and creative. I also tend to be reactive and impulsive. Sometimes that as served to get me into a lot of trouble but also been helpful!

    ReplyReply
  • Myrko Thum

    March 7, 2013

    @Rittie, that’s right. I think keeping your weaknesses in check is one acceptable way to go. Sometimes it’s the only way. Working on them to a certain degree can in fact elevate your strengths even more, since they get more room and are not disturbed by behavior that stems from your weakness.

    ReplyReply
  • Zack

    March 7, 2013

    I am curious where you got your lists of strengths and weaknesses from. They are pretty good, I especially liked the list a couple weeks back of character attributes. I had been looking for such a list for quite a while.

    An antidote about strengths and weaknesses: Bob Knight, legendary basketball coach and horse’s rear, has a simple philosophy that he used at Indiana University (Indiana happens to be my home state) to bring the best out of his players. His philosophy was to eliminate weaknesses in his players being that when all the weaknesses were gone what was left was the best that they could be. I took this as a form of gospel and I have found this to be more or less true. Or I should say that as I have eliminated or smoothed out my weaknesses my strengths began to become more apparent. Had I focused on the other end, strengths, then I would of found myself tripping over my weaknesses and my strengths would not have as much strength in them, and therefore not as noticeable. So basically I have begun to discovered who I am by challenging myself about my weaknesses. I still loath paperwork. Organization is as alien a concept to me as string theory: fascinating to read about the possibilities/potentialities, but as remote as the North Pole.

    ReplyReply
  • Myrko Thum

    March 7, 2013

    @Zack: These lists started as I was thinking about what my own attributes were. Then I added more and more of what I found via additional research, while trying to keep the list as tight as possible, avoiding synonyms or very similar attributes like “Selfish” and “Egoistic”.

    Working on your weaknesses is worthwhile. It balances your character, removes the otherwise hard edges, which makes life easier for you and makes you a more enjoyable person to be with. And then, exactly as I said it before in the comment above already and as you put it: “…as I have eliminated or smoothed out my weaknesses my strengths began to become more apparent.” – so yes, I think working on your weaknesses makes total sense. Your biggest successes will probably still come from using your strength then.

    ReplyReply
  • Zack

    March 7, 2013

    Vincent-

    I could of written your post. I’ve employed one to two sometimes three people for over a decade and I have watched my employees break under the pressure of my arrogance and impatience. It is really amazing the power of words motivated by impatient arrogance. It is very easy to belittle someone with that combination. I’ve learned to replace my arrogance with laughter and teasing and my impatience with impatience. So now I motivate with impatient teasing which is a monster of an improvement. It doesn’t belittle which allows a person to listen when you are trying to correct a weakness.

    Good luck

    ReplyReply
  • Zack

    March 7, 2013

    I should say the “opportunity to listen…” When someone is being belittled they might as well be being punched in the face- they are in a self-preservation mode and are in no place to listen to any sort of corrective criticism.

    ReplyReply
  • kit

    March 7, 2013

    My strengths 1. Helping 2. Humble 3. Action Orientated 4 Curious 5 adventurous

    My weakness: 1. Undisciplined 2. Chaotic 3. impatient 4. Impulsive 5 Ignorant

    ReplyReply
  • Ninad Shendge

    March 10, 2013

    My Strengths are :
    1) Intuitive
    2) Thoughtful
    3) Adventurous
    4) Courageous
    5) Flexible
    6) Compassionate
    7) Open-Minded
    8) Optimistic
    9) Organized
    10) Willpower

    My Weaknesses are:
    1) Intuitive
    2) Wasteful
    3) Vague
    4) Impulsive
    5) Stubborn
    6) Cynical
    7) Intolerant
    8) Lazy
    9) Mistrustful
    10) Passive

    ReplyReply
  • Myrko Thum

    March 10, 2013

    Strength and Weakness the same. Interesting, but yes, that may be true!

    ReplyReply
  • Jor Barrie

    March 11, 2013

    Another good post, Myrko! One rarely takes the time to look at oneself, although I agree that it’s a very useful thing to do really!

    My strengths:

    1. Intuitive – difficult to define really; I have found that it’s sometimes telepathy in my case; anyway, it’s definitely my biggest strength, although I have to learn to trust it more!

    2. Emotional intelligent – similar to the above, perhaps.

    3. Organized – can sometimes be difficult for less organized colleagues…

    4. Self controlled – I can make myself produce and drink fresh veggie juice every morning.. ;-)

    5. Creative/Artistic – perhaps this should have been higher on the list; it’s a very fulfilling and enjoyable part of me.

    6. Open minded – not something I was born with, but something life has forced upon me by making me gay, mixed race and foreign (although that last bit was my own choice).

    7. Thoughtful – probably follows from being open minded; there are always several sides of a situation to consider.

    8. Responsible – I probably have my parents to thank for that!

    9. Empathic – could be linked to my (faint) telepathic abilities; it makes it easy to understand someone else’s point of view.

    10. Caring – probably linked to empathy.

    Some of my weaknesses:

    1. Lethargic – a most annoying trait that I have to battle a lot!

    2. Aggressive – not perhaps something people who know me would recognize because it’s well under control, but it’s there nonetheless. It’s mostly fear, really.

    3. Fearful – I’m afraid of the cruel things people are capable of; it’s probably something I subconsciously ‘inherited’ from my mother, who spent several years in concentration camps during WW II.

    4. Impatient – although perhaps mostly under control…

    5. Shy – should perhaps be higher on the list; it has wrecked my life in many ways.

    Thanks again!

    Jor.

    ReplyReply
  • symjone ricketts

    April 18, 2013

    Hi Myrko
    I have a presentation on Strengths and weaknesses in regards to personal development.. I intend to quote some of your writings (with reference to this website of course). Do you have any other specific tools that will allow individuals to utilise their strengths and improve their weaknesses.

    ReplyReply
  • Myrko Thum

    April 24, 2013

    @symjone, I can’t offer you special tools for that, but I believe reflecting on them is a first step which already encourages focussing on strength.

    ReplyReply
  • Jonathan Lesmana

    May 3, 2013

    my strengths:

    1.Good-looking
    2.can be trusted – is not on the list
    3.precise
    4.Analytical
    5.Open-minded

    my weaknesses:
    1.cant mingle around groups
    2.inexpressive (while talking)- does it count?
    3.lethargic
    4.hesitant
    5.insensitive

    I’m a guy 22 Y-O. I’m working on the 1st weakness (mingle around group). Group? Yes, group is my biggest challenge. I’m trying to contribute something when everybody talking – I’m too quiet. I’m still struggling (within few years) but the improvement is just a little. Maybe because during childhood i’m kind of introvert.
    Do you write any article about communication skills in conversation among group?

    ReplyReply
  • Myrko Thum

    May 4, 2013

    @Jonathan, I have this post about general communication mastery: http://www.myrkothum.com/how-to-become-a-master-at-communication/

    What you say about non-expressive and group-isolation is a bit like the skill of social competence. But in order to develop it you also need to develop self-esteem and not take things to seriously. Most group talk is small-talk, just to enjoy the time and get to know each other in a convenient way.

    I can identify with your weaknesses but as I was getting older I learned not to take the situation so serious and just let my need to enjoy myself (around other people) come through.

    Trustworthiness got added as a potential strength to the list. Thanks!

    ReplyReply
  • sara jones

    May 15, 2013

    MY STRENGTH:-
    1.good looking
    2.educated
    3.intelligent
    4.helping
    5.thoughtful
    MY WEAKNESSES:-
    1.lazy
    2.short sighted
    3.loose tongued
    4.undisciplined
    5.impulsive

    ReplyReply
  • Rishabh Jain

    May 24, 2013

    My two biggest weakness are that i think a lot about my future and get worrysume unnecessarily …i think i am not enjoying my present as i should and i think that is what would haunt me …say after some yrs down the line…it will be a good gesture at ur part if u can guide me through my weaknesses….

    ReplyReply
  • Myrko Thum

    May 24, 2013

    @Rishabh Jain: If you haven’t read it yet, I would suggest the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. You can realize that the present moment is really all there ever is, so that’s where you can access yourself and your life unfolding. I wrote about it here:

    - What is The Present Moment?
    - Clock Time vs. Psychological Time
    - The Power of Now: Review of the Book by Eckhart Tolle

    ReplyReply
  • Lorraine Reguly

    June 3, 2013

    Hi there! I have nominated you for “The Very Inspiring Blog Award”! Read this post for more information about what you have to do to accept it! http://lorrainemariereguly.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/the-very-inspiring-blogger-award-links-to-sites-for-freelancers-writers-and-poets/

    ReplyReply
  • Dorcas Apio

    June 11, 2013

    My strenghs are
    1- speaking
    2- Open minded
    3-caring
    4-Responsible
    5-flexible
    6- Trust Worthy
    7-people skills
    8-leadership
    9-determined
    10-self controlled
    My weakness
    1-Fearful
    2- Strict
    3- Emotional
    4- hesitant

    Any commments please?

    ReplyReply
  • Myrko Thum

    June 11, 2013

    Looks like you are very good with people.

    ReplyReply
  • Ruchi MORE

    June 23, 2013

    First of all Thanks a lot for this post Myrko, it is indeed very helpful. Sometimes you know what are you weaknesses and strengths but it is difficult to put them on paper or to answer when questioned about it. Your post gives a very clear idea of how you can bring it out. Also the posts related to this one.

    Talking for my personal strengths, I would also put Strategic thinking as my first.

    1. Strategic Thinking
    2. Social/Personal Skills
    3. Flexible – In terms of adjusting to various situations and environments, more like adaptive

    Weaknesses, hmmm, it is a tough one, some of the words you used sound very negative to be used for an interview I would say [not that they are not true]. But if I have to pick from the list, it is difficult to select. Still I have a few:

    1. Controlling – In the sense that I like things to be in order or done is a certain way that is comprehensive to the whole team or for a task. People have different views, but I like that if a task is provided, all should have the same base. If they don’t it freaks me out a bit. Not that it counters my strength of working in a team, I still work well and I with my “personal skills” communicate it properly and am able to get the task done at an agreeable level of all.

    2. Judgemental – Not always, but it has happened most of the times that I judge the person on the first meeting itself, good or bad and later the bad perception turns good and vice versa. I am trying to work on it, and have conquered most of it, like I would say 45% [not a lot, but still it is something] . I am not sure if this is the right word to use in an interview, but that is the closest word to my weakness. If you know of any other word for this trait, do let me know.

    3. Critical – Of myself, I always push myself to do better or condemn or be harsh at times. It is at times good when you are expected to perform your best, but in my belief it is not the best. I am trying to work on it too, and trying not to over-do it and affect my work and capabilities.

    And thats all, 3 S and W is what I could list, I think 3 each are enough ;) Though I might have more [ I believe I do] , but people stop reading after the 3rd sometime or listening per se.

    Thanks once again and I am awaiting your response on this.

    Cheers!

    ReplyReply
  • En En

    July 9, 2013

    I was told I have traits that are BOTH my strength & weakness depending on the situation & who I’m with.

    For example, I’m a very vocal & concise person. I get straight to the point and get my message across so I find that this kind of prompt communication will save a lot of time than beating about the bushes. This generally works fine until the more oversensitive folks would say the way I put it may come across as too direct/straightforward.

    Another example is I’m an organized person. I label my files & folders. I list down things/notes that are important to me or helpful for others. I don’t think this is OCD but I would expect things that are borrowed from me to be put back at where it was taken or in the condition when I last saw it. When people don’t comply, I feel the need to set this rule to remind them. To them, they think I’m being calculative instead.

    It can be frustrating that you just can’t please everyone and they always have something to say about your strength or weakness.

    ReplyReply
  • Ramesh Desai

    August 19, 2013

    @symjone ricketts: Hi can this presentation be shared for the team,

    ReplyReply
  • Jeffrey James

    August 19, 2013

    I like how you mentioned that in general, it’s best to focus on your strengths. As you said, it is important to know our weaknesses as well, but our time is often best spent further improving our strengths.

    ReplyReply
  • Hilda Ainembabazi

    November 28, 2013

    Hay, I find my personal strength to be patient, team oriented, trustworthy, self controlled, leadership, responsible.
    my weaknesses are non other than controlling, complaining.
    now what kind of a person am I?

    ReplyReply
  • Hanh

    December 15, 2013

    Hello Myrko,

    I just lovelovelove your blog and articles you post. Like, they’re just so lovely and outstanding and wonderful. They’ve helped me uncover the real me that was hiding underneath and slowly start to accept myself and life. They’re very helpful. I just want to say thank you and with kind regards, please continue to post more meaningful posts; I’ll be on the lookout. :)

    Cheers,

    Hanh

    ReplyReply
  • Myrko Thum

    December 16, 2013

    Hey Hanh, thanks so much for your great feedback! It means a lot to me!

    All the best to you!

    ReplyReply
  • Senpoora

    February 21, 2014

    I have so many weakness. How should i overcome them?I tried but it is not accomplish.

    ReplyReply
  • Zabiullah Khan

    March 9, 2014

    Strengths:
    Ω Patient
    Ω Communicative
    Ω Confident
    Ω Knowledge of what is easy for me
    Ω Open-Miinded
    Weaknesses:
    Ω Irresponsible
    Ω Overconfident
    Ω Lethargic
    Ω Complaining

    ReplyReply
  • Paul Ngessah

    April 13, 2014

    Hi Myrko,
    Thanks for the list, it is good for one to know their weakness and strength. Our strength and weakness are two natural phenomenal that are innate to our making, and it is there for a reason. I consider it a natural balancing act. Can you imagine, if we all were very intelligent or good looking? Then, what becomes of that quality of our lives? it becomes useless to us because there is no difference, everything look and feel the same. The reason there is strength and weakness, is for us to appreciate each other value, in that, where one person is lacking, the other person can compensate for that weakness.
    In business, the weakness of a business is an opportunity for the competitors. This how we survive, once we understand that, we will stop tripping over our weakness.
    My Strength:
    Good looking
    Patient
    Listening
    Empathy
    open minded
    Hardworking

    Weakness:
    disorganized
    procrastinate
    shy
    Talk less

    ReplyReply
  • Soma

    April 23, 2014

    What do I do if I have more weaknesses than strengths?
    I’m creative, caring, compassionate, and had to add funny myself.
    However, I’m cynical, fearful, hesitant, lazy, negative, shy, stubborn, and slow. I feel terrible.

    ReplyReply

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