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Incompetence is the New Black: How to Embrace Your Flaws

We live in a world that glorifies competence. We admire people who are skilled, talented, and efficient. The cutthroat competition pushes us constantly to improve ourselves and reach our full potential.

There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s great to have aspirations; it’s great to slog to achieve your goals.

But what about incompetence? What about the things you are not good at, the things you struggle with, and the things you can’t do?

Most of us have been taught to hide our incompetence, feel ashamed, and avoid situations that expose it.

After all, you don’t want to look foolish, incompetent, or inadequate in front of others. You want to impress people, gain recognition, and feel good about yourself. However, this mentality can be limiting and even harmful.

Embrace our incompetence instead. It can actually be a liberating and empowering experience.

1. Embracing your incompetence means accepting yourself as an imperfect being.

We’re not superheroes or robots. We have limitations, weaknesses, and blind spots. And that’s okay. It’s part of being human.

When you embrace your incompetence, you let go of the pressure to be perfect and the fear of being judged.

You give yourself permission to be vulnerable, authentic, and honest.

Before she became a bestselling author, JK Rowling struggled with poverty, depression, and feelings of inadequacy. In a 2008 commencement address at Harvard University, she spoke openly about her struggles, saying:

JK Rowling, author
JK Rowling, Image source:

“I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless… I had a daughter to raise, I had no idea how I was going to do it, and I was the biggest failure I knew.”

JK Rowling

However, instead of giving up, Rowling used her struggles as fuel for her writing. She channeled her feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness into the character of Harry Potter, who also faced incredible odds and overcame them with bravery and determination.

Through her writing, Rowling was able to turn her incompetence into a source of strength and inspiration for millions of readers around the world.

Her story is a testament to the power of embracing your incompetence, facing your fears, and turning your weaknesses into strengths.

2. Embracing your incompetence means being willing to learn and grow.

When you admit that you don’t know something or that we need help, you open yourself up to new possibilities and opportunities.

You become curious, more resourceful, and creative in finding solutions to problems. You become more empathetic towards others who are struggling with their own incompetence.

Consider the incredible story of Michael Jordan, widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.

Michael Jordan, embrace your incompetence
Michael Jordan

However, what many people may not know is that Jordan was actually cut from his high school basketball team because he was not good enough. This rejection was a devastating blow to Jordan, who had always dreamed of playing basketball at the highest level.

Instead of giving up, Jordan used his failure as motivation to work harder and improve his game. He practiced tirelessly, sometimes for hours on end, until he became a star player on his high school team the following year.

He went on to play for the University of North Carolina and later the Chicago Bulls, winning six NBA championships and numerous awards and accolades along the way.

Jordan’s story is a powerful example of how, when you embrace your incompetence, it can lead to growth and success. Instead of letting his failure define him, he used it as an opportunity to learn and improve.

If you are enjoying this post, you might also find “10 Fallacies you need to be aware of while making crucial decisions” of interest.

3. Embracing your incompetence means having a sense of humor and a positive attitude.

When you can laugh at yourself, you diffuse the tension and stress of incompetence.

In her early career as a stand-up comedian, Ellen DeGeneres faced numerous setbacks and rejections. She often joked about her struggles and failures in her comedy routines, using humor to cope with her insecurities and setbacks.

Later in her career, DeGeneres faced another setback when she came out as a lesbian on national television. At the time, this was a controversial and risky move that could have ended her career.

Ellen DeGeneres, embrace your incompetence
Ellen DeGeneres

However, instead of getting bogged down by all the outcry, she used it as an opportunity to speak out for LGBT rights and become a powerful advocate for equality. Her story is a testament to the power of embracing your incompetence with a sense of humor and a positive attitude.

Actually, when you embrace your incompetence, you take away its power over you and give yourself permission to be imperfect. You don’t let your failures and mistakes hold you back.

Before we wrap up, I’d like to suggest three books that offer valuable guidance on embracing your flaws and living a more fulfilling life.

1. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown

Brown, in her book, encourages readers to let go of perfectionism and embrace their imperfections in order to live a fulfilled life. She shares insights and advice on how to let go of perfectionism and live with authenticity and courage.

2. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

This book explores the power of a growth mindset, in which individuals embrace their failures and see them as opportunities to learn and grow. Dweck provides practical strategies for developing a growth mindset and achieving success.

3. Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell

This book explores the power of embracing failure and using it as a stepping stone to success. Maxwell shares insights and advice on how to overcome fear and develop resilience in the face of adversity.

So, there you have it. Embracing your incompetence doesn’t mean settling for mediocrity or neglecting your responsibilities. It simply means acknowledging your limitations, being honest with yourself, and having a sense of humor about your quirks.

And who knows, maybe one day you’ll look back and realize that your incompetence was actually the secret sauce that made you awesome.

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Embrace your incompetence

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