Not everyone has a significant special gifting, aka talent, with which they may choose to heavily practice, modestly practice, or leave entirely unpracticed. Some may even have physical, mental, or circumstantial handicaps encumbering them beyond their natural dearth of talent. I believe that I qualify herein and that I’ve found a helpful path around the roadblocks. There are surely additional routes that I don’t know, and certainly many wrestle with more substantial challenges than I do; but regardless, there is value and balance in my sharing what I found to be a life-enriching, survival tool. I refer to it as developing a coping mechanism.

The following are real examples of my weaknesses, followed in the parentheses by my passable/plausible lifelong adopted solution for coping with each: incapable of understanding higher mathematics (focus on alternative social studies and language disciplines), not well-coordinated for team sports (participate in individual sports like pole vaulting, swimming, and gymnastics), attention deficit disorder (think outside-the-box, be creative and entrepreneurial), slow reader (listen to audio books and read book reviews or abridged editions), challenged both phonetically and with foreign languages (substitute science classes to meet the degree requirements), poor memory (take lots of printed or recorded notes), shy (stretch comfort zone through public speaking, volunteering, and teaching), low to average student with mild learning disabilities (study longer and harder, do extra credit projects, befriend smart people, avoid noisy/distracting environments, and deflect the pain of criticism by exercising a sense of humor and granting forgiveness), tone-deaf and incapable of playing a musical instrument (collect quality recorded music and attend concerts), modest IQ (fully utilize it by being intellectually curious- this is a supplemental type of intelligence), inferiority complex (find meaning in things greater than yourself and have a close relationship with God), raised in a broken home (develop close friends from solid families and court/date discerningly), socially awkward (avoid crowd situations in favor of one-on-one), financially poor background (work both smarter and harder, set goals, and be money-wise).

Your weaknesses will vary from mine (which are ADHD-driven); but regardless, always keep in mind: There is no shame in concealing your vulnerabilities from the public; it’s exercising wisdom to do so. Restated as an illustration: If the traditional path can’t be made to work for you, then find or make an honorable alternative one that is better suited to your limitations. Good character will always triumph in the end, so finish well.

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