Turn Your Weakness into Strength

Let me tell you a story. It’s a story about turning your greatest weakness, into your greatest strength.

A 10-year-old boy decided to study judo, despite the fact he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident.

The boy began taking lessons with an old Japanese judo master. The boy was doing well, so he couldn’t understand why, after three months of training – the master had taught him only one move. “Sensei,” the boy finally said, “shouldn’t I be learning more moves?” “This is the only move you’ll ever need to know,” the sensei replied. Not quite understanding, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept training. Several months later, the sensei took the boy to his first tournament.

Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two matches. The third match proved to be more difficult, but after some time, his opponent became impatient and charged; the boy skillfully used his one move to win the match.

Amazed by his success, the boy was now in the finals.

This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger, and more experienced. For awhile, the boy appeared to be out-matched. Concerned that the boy might get hurt, the referee called a time-out. The ref was about to stop the match – when the sensei intervened. “No!” the sensei insisted, “Let him continue.” Soon after the match resumed, his opponent made a critical mistake: He dropped his guard. Instantly, the boy used his move to pin him. The boy had won the match, and the tournament.

He was the champion!

On the way home, the boy and sensei reviewed every move in each match. Then, the boy summoned the courage to ask what was really on his mind. “Sensei, how did I win the tournament with only one move?” “You won for two reasons,” the sensei replied. “First, you’ve almost mastered one of the most difficult throws in all of judo. And second, the only known defense for that move – is for your opponent to grab your left arm.”

The boy’s greatest weakness – was actually his greatest strength.

“Whatever personal challenge you have to overcome, you must be brave enough to accept that you are different. You must have the courage to trust your instincts and be ready to question what other people don’t. If you do that, you can seize opportunities that others would miss. Believe in yourself, and use everything you can – including the obstacles – to propel you along the road to success. Who knows what you might achieve?”