View Full Version : The Freak Factor: Discovering Uniqueness by Flaunting Weakness By David Rendall

Garrett Smith
04-09-2008, 05:53 PM

I personally found this article to be incredible on many levels, pertaining to both work, medicine, and exercise...excerpt is from the first chapter of the manifesto.

1. What’s Your Problem?

“It’s never too late to be who you might have been.”—George Eliot

What is your biggest weakness? Nearly every job interview includes this question. Once you get the job, the same question will be asked during performance evaluations, and this time your manager will have their own perspective. Your co-workers and subordinates might even offer their opinions as part of 360-degree feedback.

Your family also has strong feelings about your flaws and limitations. Even complete strangers are eager to offer feedback regarding your driving skills. Given this constant criticism and your own self-awareness, you have probably developed some sense of what is wrong with you.

What should you do with this knowledge? How should you respond?

There are three basic options for self-improvement.

fix weaknesses
build on strengths
do both

The most common choice is to build on strengths and fix weaknesses, usually with special attention to fixing weaknesses. This is prevalent at work where annual appraisals are focused on overcoming our apparent limitations. Similarly, in homes and schools, parents and teachers expect children to excel in all academic subjects, athletic activities and social skills. Those who are lacking in any particular area are confronted with their flaws and given strategies for improvement.

The obvious goal of these remediation efforts is to foster success by producing well-rounded people. However, do these efforts really work, and is being well-rounded a worthy or realistic goal? My experience as an individual, consultant, parent and leader indicates that efforts to fix weaknesses are ineffective.

Furthermore, I believe that the goal of being well-rounded is both undesirable and impossible to attain. The purpose of this manifesto is to explain why I believe this and to offer a better alternative.

Coach Sommer
04-17-2008, 12:36 PM

Thank you for posting this. My personal experience working with national, international and Olympic caliber athletes all of these years is that "normal" people do not become champions. Champions, regardless of the arena in which they are dominant (i.e. sports, academics, politics, business or the arts), are not well rounded; they are extremely hard working, committed and determined within a narrow area of personal expertise. Rather than diminishing their energies through attempting to be well rounded, they narrow their field of focus to a laser sharp intensity; and enjoy a multitude of successes because of it.

Yours in Fitness,
Coach Sommer


Scott Kustes
04-17-2008, 12:49 PM
Great read. Thanks Dr. G.

Mike ODonnell
04-17-2008, 02:40 PM
Reminds me of the saying..."Would you rather be a Jack of all trades? Or an expert at one?"

I'll go with the expert....once I figure out what it is of course....

Garrett Smith
04-17-2008, 03:38 PM
Glad you guys liked it!