As I wrote earlier, one important idea I took from Marcus Buckingham's The One Thing You Need to Know is the value of expending more energy in our areas of strength than in where we are weak. Self-evident? Maybe, but in practice we often tend to do the opposite.
John Stackhouse's review of another Buckingham book, Go Put Your Strengths to Work, inspired me to reserve it at our library. Although the "I gotta be me" philosophy taken to extremes can lead to unwholesome, selfish attitudes and dereliction of duty, we err in the other direction by not recognizing that God made us who we are and not someone else for a reason. To ignore that design is not only to insult our Creator, but also to risk missing out on the good he would do to and through us.
Buckingham’s counsel—available in this book, on his website, and via other media—coincides powerfully with the counsel of the apostle Paul, who told the early Christians under his care to recognize their inherent particularity, to rejoice in it, to honour each other’s differences, and to work together for mutual benefit. In fact, Paul provides for us an image so apt that it is surprising Buckingham never makes use of it: the parts of the human body working in all of their particularity for each other’s good: eye, ear, hand, foot, and so on (I Corinthians 12).
Life is short, distractions and demands are many, and we can misspend ‘way too much of our time and effort on matters that don’t matter, or in work to which we are neither inclined nor suited. Buckingham’s book is, like all wisdom, deceptively simple and clear, and I’ve found it to be effective. It has helped me move away from activities that I am not good at, or even some that I am, but don’t have much heart for, toward those through which I can do the most good for others and enjoy myself best while doing them.