Rudolph’s protocol

The standard approach to self-improvement is to take advantage of your weakness and improve it.

If you’re thin, lift weights.

If you don’t know how to draw, practice it. Maybe take a course.

That’s a great strategy. And you might be wondering – what else could you do to get stronger?

Rely on your strengths?

Of course, you could do it too.

But there is a powerful and often overlooked alternative.

One that sounds ‘obvious’, except that so few people have ever seriously attempted this.

You ready?

Instead of removing your weakness, use it.

This is the crux of half the feel-good movies. An ugly girl flaunts what she has and is now beautiful. A nerd fakes his way to popularity, but becomes cooler and happier when he learns to “be yourself.”

I don’t need to explain why you could call this the Rudolph Protocol, whose innate flaw that attracts mockery saved the day. If he had gone for plastic surgery when he was younger, Božić would have been doomed.

But hey, fascinating. Can we still take it out of the realm of fiction? Who cares if it works in the stories – does it work in real life?

Alright. Then let’s take marketing.

Bad marketers lie about their products.

Amateurs ignore the worst traits and hope no one notices them.

Professionals though?

They brag about weaknesses. In industry jargon, this is making skeletons dance.

Is your product expensive? Accept it and say it’s not for the squeamish.

Are you new to the market? Accept it and say how hungry you are to prove yourself.

Does your product break easily? Admit it and say it’s a necessary trade-off to get it done as quickly or cheaply as you can. Bonus: it won’t clutter up your shelf for years to come if it’s something you only need to use a few times.

What about dating? What’s holding you back?

Are you too old… or are you experienced, mature and not prone to petty drama?

Are you too poor… or do you choose genuine moments of connection over expensive dinners?

You could be so ugly that you learned that character trumps looks.

At a job interview, maybe everyone but you has a degree from a fancy university. Some people would call that a weakness, but isn’t that a strength? If you can point to projects you’ve accomplished while everyone else is spouting naive theory, your weakness is your greatest asset.

Imagine wasting your time getting a degree that no one cares about.

Of course, this is not an excuse to skip the gym, break the diet and throw away the textbooks. Sometimes weaknesses are weaknesses. Sometimes you really need to improve.

But not always.

And sometimes our greatest, unchanging weaknesses are our greatest strengths.

The more immutable something seems, the more it is worth using.

Change what you can and use the rest.

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