We are told, with some justification, that in order to win our battles we must exploit the weaknesses of our adversaries. But what of those conflicts in which our enemy is not some corporeal antagonist but oneself?
We often have a tendency to accept our own weaknesses too readily, proclaiming in a matter of fact sort of way that “I am not really much of a something-or-other” and believing that who we are – and therefore to some extent our destiny too – is determined entirely by our genetic make-up. We think that our nature was fixed at some early stage in our existence and that we cannot change ourselves.
The Knot Garden believes that our capacity for self-transformation is far greater than people generally imagine.
Naturally, any programme of change that we decide to undertake must begin with an examination of our weaknesses. The problem is that we often suffer from weaknesses that are hidden from our view. I speak from experience here. I discovered recently, when reading Chris Voss’s excellent book Never Split The Difference, that I have lived my entire life without understanding the importance of being an accomplished negotiator.
I have since learned that empathy-based negotiation is a critically important skill to all of us save those who live as hermits in caves, avoiding contact with other humans.
The Knot Garden exhorts us to search within ourselves to find our key areas of weakness and then work on turning them into valuable assets. Only in this way can we hope to become truly strong.