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SFU Co-op Student/Alumni

A person flexing
know your strength!
“You won’t accomplish anything until you stop worrying about your weaknesses and start using your strengths”

Just like Bunko, I was frustrated with the way things were going in my life. As an undergrad, I spent most of my time in school, group meetings and labs. But with disappointing grades, it appeared that the more I studied, the more likely I was to get a lower mark. My time spent on studying had an inverse relationship with the grade I would receive. I was undoubtedly very disappointed. My problems were not going away. 

Every assignment felt mountainous and my accounting homework seemingly never balanced. Like Bunko, I couldn’t decide whether it was mind-numbingly repetitive or repetitively mind-numbing!  Assignments and projects took forever to finish, while my peers seemed to have no trouble with the same tasks. So, despite a constant level of stress, I vowed to work harder to overcome my weaknesses.

I swore to start from scratch again – learn the fundamentals of accounting, learn the practices, and build leadership – all the while focusing on where I am weak and ensuring my weaknesses wouldn’t hold me back. But all this was wrong. I was reminded that I shouldn’t be focusing on my weaknesses. Instead, I should think strengths.

That may not make a lot of sense at first, but try googling “Martin Seligman” and “Marcus Buckingham.” In short, their research has found that the key to success is to steer around your weaknesses and focus on your strengths. Successful people don’t try too hard to improve what they’re bad at. Rather, they capitalize on what they’re good at.

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Needless to say, his legendary career and success with basketball has made him an inspiration to a mass audience. But what if he didn’t take the positives when he was cut loose? What if MJ stopped playing basketball? The world would definitely be without one of the most influential leaders of basketball. But thankfully, Jordan laced it up and gave all of us a piece of history.


I love to talk, chat and converse with peers. I would occasionally spark a conversation during queues in lineups. Never shy from embarrassment, I classify myself as an energetic, ambitious and outgoing youth. However, the million dollar question: how do I make use of these strengths?

I needed to use these strengths to my advantage – in a way that will help create flow. Discussing with peers, advisors, and parents about my situation, I came to a conclusion that the area I was focusing on (Business Studies) may not have been the best option at the time. I had a great discussion about my concerns with a good friend who  introduced me to the School of Communication. With my interest in presentation, media and the use of technology, this faculty seemed like a great fit.

Four years later, I am about to graduate from the School of Communication.

“Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out” – Art Linkletter

SFU Co-op Student/Alumni
Yat is a SFU alumni and former co-op Multimedia Assistant at SFU Career Services. You can find him on twitter at @yatli.
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Jan 22, 2013