Last week, I was watching the movie ‘Green Lantern’ in which the actor, Ryan Reynolds played the lead role and fights against his biggest weakness- Fear. He accepts that having a weakness is only “Human” and fighting against it the need of the hour. In our own lives, we come across situations where we push ourselves in order to transform our weaknesses into our strengths. While watching this movie another thought dawned on my mind— A Strength can be a weakness too.
The above thought requires you to do an introspection. I’ve been in the company of some exceptionally intelligent people but have also seen their downfall due to their strengths. If that sounds bizarre to you, please read further. It’s true that Strength, itself, doesn’t deteriorate you. It is either the failure to rein-back your pride associated with these growing strengths or be influenced by a negative catalyst(like anger, overconfidence, procrastination, and arrogance to name a few) in your ruination. Pardon me! I don’t mean to discourage you, however, I would suggest you keep a check on your proliferating strength which most likely can get affected by your impulsive behavior.
To support my thought, I’d like to explain the famous Freud Personality theory developed by Sigmond Freud in 1923.
According to Freud’s model of the psyche, the ‘Id’ is the primitive and instinctual part of the mind that contains aggressive drives, the ‘Super-ego’ operates as a moral conscience, and the ‘Ego’ is the realistic part that mediates between the desires of the id and the super-ego. The ‘Id’ is the impulsive part of our psyche that responds directly and immediately to the instincts. The id engages in primary process thinking, which is primitive, illogical, selfish, irrational, also fantasy-oriented.
Piyush is one of the very knowledgeable people I’ve ever met. He loves to read, get himself trained on various subjects, watch informative video contents, and meet new people. He has new concepts and ideas which he wants to bring into action. The only problem, however, is that Piyush has cuffed this strength with procrastination. This results in an inability to work hard towards the practical achievement of goals, like running his own dream Fitness center. Piyush’s strength has gotten affected by the ‘unconscious Id’ which is more fantasy-oriented. His belief that he can achieve things easily has made him lax in achieving his goals. He spends most of his time procrastinating serious business. I might sound rude but I’m only trying to explain a difficult situation that most of us are facing. Another example is Ms. Fernandes, a school teacher. Ms. Fernandes’ strength is that she’s a disciplined woman. This impressive trait, however, has been coaxed into becoming irrational by ‘the unconscious Id’ in her. She is prejudiced against students who lack organization. She punishes and insults these students more often than not. Such behavior is abominated by the pupils and they want to learn neither discipline nor any other subject from her. One last example is that of Mac Miller, the American rapper who died in 2018 only at the age of 26 due to drug overdose. His net worth was $9million dollar at that time. His strength was creativity which soared high along with his selfish ‘Id’. Blinded with fame and immense creativity, he fell prey to the classic way of dilapidation (which many celebrities have opted before). His ‘Id’ enslaved him into being impulsive and selfish.
There are numerous cases of self-destruction. Therefore, our task is to perform some soul searching, and correct our actions at the right time.
The above examples do not imply that you shouldn’t work on your good qualities – your strengths. It means that you must know when and how to control your self-destructive behavior. A Hindi adage “Ati sarvatr varjiyat” means that excess of anything should be avoided. Excess of even the best of traits can annihilate you. In the ancient Sanskrit epic ‘ Ramayana’, Ravan, the rakshasa king of Lanka loses his life in the battle against Lord Rama because his great intelligence and power are entwined with arrogance, anger, pride, and selfishness. King Karan in the epic Mahabharata faces a political predicament since he is way too benevolent.
The key to strengthening your strength is to harness it with self-control and courage. Grow your courage to fight against your weakness. It’s only human to be weak but it’s also human to be courageous. Let your ‘Super-ego’ take charge of your ‘Ego’ and guide you into the right path of self-development, not self-destruction.