On one of my Yahoo groups for training and coaching colleagues, Ranjini Srinivasan of Oscar Murphy International had a must share story, Use Your Strengths.
A 10 year old boy decided to study Judo despite the fact that he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident.
The boy began his lessons with an old Japanese Judo Master. As the boy was doing well in his lessons, he could not understand why after three months of training and his master had taught him only one move.
“Sensei,” the boy finally asked. “Shouldn’t I be learning more moves?”
“This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you’ll ever need to know.” the sensei replied. Not quite understanding, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept training.
Several months later, the sensei took the boy to his first tournament. Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two matches. The third match proved to be more difficult, but after some time, his opponent became impatient and charged; the boy deftly used his one move to win the match. Still amazed by his success, the boy was now in the finals.
This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger and more experienced. For a while, the boy appeared to be over matched. Concerned that the boy might get hurt, the referee called a time-out. He was about to stop the match when the sensei intervened.
“No.” the sensei insisted. “Let him continue.”
Soon after the match resumed, his opponent made a critical mistake: he dropped his guard. Instantly, the boy used his move to pin him down. The boy had won the match and the tournament. He was the champion.
On the way home, the boy and sensei reviewed every move in each and every match. Then the boy summoned the courage to ask what was really on his mind.
“Sensei, how did I win the tournament with only one move?”
“You won for two reasons,” the sensei answered. “First, you’ve almost mastered one of the most difficult throws in all of Judo. And second, the only known defense for that move is for your opponent to grip your left arm.”
The boy’s biggest weakness had become his biggest strength.
As Ranjini wraps up his encouragement what rang so true for introverts is “Just when you are thinking that something may be your weakness, think twice.” How often do we hear things about ourselves that we are anti-social, aloof, too intense, what ever it might be? How often might we say to ourselves, “If I could only network like an extrovert,” “I would love to be more of a social butterfly,” or something else. We want to have faith that there are times when what may be perceived as a weakness may end up being a strength that could be – a helpful move in any particular situation. We likely could benefit at times from learning more extroverting skills although it’s also likely we are also underusing some of our own moves.
What do you think?