Strengths & Weaknesses

We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and they help us rise high or go splat.

I secretly have a love for numbers. I keep spreadsheets with formulas and columns to break down yearly expenses monthly and then categorically. It’s a great way to keep track of spending and project how much things are costing; where budget needs to be adjusted; where a category was overspent in; all the details that my organizing side absolutely loves.

Just one thing: I am terrible with numbers.

The way my brain works, I think in pictures. I see things as images so when I read or have a conversation I see a movie playing out in my head and can understand and grasp what the underlying meaning is. That’s why I think of writing as painting: to me it’s describing the scenes that are moving along in my imagination. Words flow from my hands as fast as those images move through my brain.

Now, numbers on the other hand, are static icons. I see the number one in my brain and that’s all I see: a number. No association is attached; no meaning is attached to that number. So when I start adding and subtracting, or doing any kind of math beyond simple stuff, those numbers just sit next to each other and don’t move for me. It’s like they are concrete and don’t mesh together.

The calculator was invented for people like me. I especially enjoy the convenience of the phone calculator, as it has made life so much easier.

My husband, on the other hand, has the opposite problem. For him numbers dance and combine all day long in his mind. But words and letters are what’s static for him, sometimes giving him a hard time with spelling and sentence construction. He’s grateful for predictive text and dictation search features on his phone. He has yet to discover Grammarly—something I plan to introduce to him soon. Can’t wait to see the look on his face when he sees how awesome that is (I’ve got it installed on my computer and even for me it’s great at catching things—I currently use the free version and highly recommend it).

Alas, I will continue to enjoy numbers only through a distance with my spreadsheets and pursue my true strengths. We can’t always have what we want in life, even if we think we should. I will never be a great mathematician. Take a lesson from my love with numbers: make a living doing something you’re good at, build side hustles on your dreams, and just keep your weaknesses as hobbies.  

Keep pursuing, dear readers.

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