Accepting Your Shortcomings (and 5 of My Biggest Flaws)

Accepting Your Shortcomings (and 5 of My Biggest Flaws)

Last week, Becoming Minimalist’s Joshua Becker wrote a fantastic post called The Freedom of Authenticity (and 7 of My Biggest Flaws) and I’d be lying if I said he’s not the reason I’m writing this. Our headline and intro are practically identical!

We chatted on Skype for about an hour when I congratulated him on being able to show such authenticity in his writing. I figured it was a challenge because it’s never easy to tear down your walls and admit you’re not perfect. It’s even harder to do that in front of a huge audience.

Joshua mentioned that he often receives emails from people praising him as if he were somehow above them. They thought he had truly mastered his urges and that he was the perfect minimalist. He revealed that he too struggles with the decision on whether or not to write and maintain a perfect image of himself or peek out and say, “Yes, I struggle too!”

We all know that no one’s perfect, but sometimes we idolize others and dismiss the possibility that they too fail, fall, and succumb to forfeiting.

Despite the progress I’ve made on my own journey of self-improvement over recent years, I’m still filled with flaws and insecurities. There are plenty of new ones that weren’t apparent until only recently.

I don’t have any excuses. I’m in another country doing exactly the work I want while surrounded by people who can teach me so much. Everything is going well right now and yet there are still days where I’m upset at the world.

I was worried that my struggles make me “unqualified” to write about certain subjects, but that’s not true. Regardless of these flaws, I’ve got a better hold on them than I did years back.

Remember that improving yourself is a gradual process and constant work-in-progress. Personal development is much more than just reading and theorizing, it’s about applying, experimenting, and calibrating.

The first step to fixing and improving on your faults is to acknowledge you have them.

Five of My Biggest Flaws

I’m critical of others (and never of myself.) Whenever something goes wrong, I don’t stop and consider that I may be the one at fault. Instead, I displace blame and automatically assume that someone else is in the wrong.

My mind also defaults to thinking I’m better at any given task, which is ridiculous because I’m absolutely horrible at so many things. With that mindset, it’s no wonder I never blame myself.

I’m working on this by trying to become more aware of what goes on in my head so I can shut down these judgments before they get louder.

I’m uptight. I sometimes have a problem loosening up once the whole “I’m upset” thing sets in and I’m generally a bit tense. Although I’m a laidback person, things can head south pretty easily if I don’t get out of my own head.

When things don’t go my way I turn into a complaining crybaby.

I’ve got to be honest, I’m not sure what my strategy for fixing this one is aside from reminding myself to relax. Others are hinting that I should take some liquid courage every now and then.

I want everyone to like me. When someone’s critical of me or even shoots me the wrong look I start analyzing the situation. Did I do or say something wrong? Do I look funny? Why doesn’t this person seem to like me? I forget that you can’t win over everyone and there are just going to be people out there you don’t get along with.

How am I tackling this one? Simple. The IDGAF Strategy.

I have a short fuse. Although I’m much better about controlling my anger than I was in high school, I still blow up at the smallest thing. While trying to extend my Philippines visa I got so upset at the immigration office’s inefficiency that I crumpled up my application and stormed out. Note that immigration isn’t the ideal location to cause a commotion because they can cause you a lot of problems.

Another example? Well, someone was rude to me at the gym so I made sure he knew what I thought of him. I won’t get into the exact dialogue we had because of the word choices I used that night, but feel free to use your imagination.

To fix this, I’m using the same tactic above. IDGAF.

I too often think I’m perfect and can do no wrong. This is arguably my biggest fault. There are a lot of times I caught thinking to myself, “I’m awesome.” Sounds silly, doesn’t it? Talk about over-confidence…

I would be showering and smile at how cool (I think) I am. I’d be playing tennis and smirk at what a great shot I just made, completely ignoring how many times I hit the ball out.

Aside from the complete arrogance, this is a big issue because sometimes it stops me from working on self-improvement.

I’m still a huge work-in-progress with enough sharp holes to grate cheese. I’ll admit, I smirked a bit when I wrote that line and congratulated myself.

This one is sort of solving itself. Reality hitting you in the face on a daily basis tends to open your eyes right up.

Look at this list. This is only five of my flaws and you can bet there are tons more.

It feels great to be so open. I’m a bit scared now that it’s out there, but I think it’s good to be honest with ourselves and with others.

Now here comes a big ask. I’d like to invite you to join me in opening ourselves up to the world.

What are some of your biggest flaws? For bonus points, let us know what you’re doing to fix them.

Photo Credit: Kevin Marsh – Flickr

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Vincent Nguyen is the author of Self Stairway and founder of Growth Ninja, a digital marketing agency that specializes in Facebook Ads. Voted "Most Guapo" five years in a row (lost during 6th year to a hand model.)

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21 responses to Accepting Your Shortcomings (and 5 of My Biggest Flaws)

  1. Wow, Vincent, I am really impressed that you are so honest about your flaws! It is really challenging for me to admit my owns flaws. But one that comes to mind that I am trying hard to master is being judgmental of others. I think I’ve come pretty far with this one, but I still have some more work to do. When I find myself judging the actions of someone else, I first try to catch myself thinking that way. Then I try to be very intentional in changing my attitude. I think about why being judgmental of others is not something I want to do because, for one, I believe in the worthiness of each individual and I try to live by that principle.

    Thanks for this post! Very thought-provoking!

    • Thanks for sharing! Just like me, that’s actually a part of the first flaw I listed above.

      It’s definitely something that I struggle to shut down. Once the judgment starts it sort of goes in the background and I don’t even realize it! Good luck to us both. 🙂

  2. haha great post!

    “I’m still a huge work-in-progress with enough sharp holes to grate cheese. I’ll admit, I smirked a bit when I wrote that line and congratulated myself.”

    It’s funny when you realize something about yourself and then you think before thinking (if that makes sense).

    I’m having a hard time controlling my anger. Last week, someone stole my hubcaps. I was so furious that I started shaking.

    I’ve been avoiding stressful situations, but I know I can’t avoid them forever.

    Sometimes closing my eyes and breathing helps. Sometimes it doesn’t. 😛

  3. I’m emotionally withdrawn and don’t actually know how to convey how much I care about people. I’m very selfish and self-centered and like to do things my way even at the expense of relationships, preferring to feel independent. I lack a lot of basic life skills even though I can come off as deceptive smart. Sometimes I flaunt my knowledge in order to cover up my ineptitude in other areas.

    I’m going to move out of my parents house so that I can improve and gain true independence and life skills.

    I don’t really know how to come off as more caring and less selfish. It’s not something that was ever taught to me. I taught myself the selfishness, the self-reliance really. Now I need to take more initiative and express myself more and be more reliable. I don’t really know how to work on these things.

    • That’s a tough one, but I do know exactly what you mean. The way I would work on teaching myself this is to examine others who are very sympathetic individuals. What do they do? How do they use their facial expressions? Are their actions often for others at the sake of their own comfort?

      I find that examining others you imagine takes you very far in self-improvement.

  4. Hey, I think reading other peoples flaws is a bit like cold reading. No matter the flaw, we can all identify with it in some way.

    The flaw which gets to me right now is that I am too cynical. I need to regain some of that naive wonder from my youth.

    • Heh, I recall a day in senior year of high school where I was walking around with a scowl on my face. I just happened to be looking at this guy and he said to me, “Christ, you’re so cynical.” Although I wasn’t really judging him (he just happened to have been in my line of sight) it made me re-evaluate myself. Why do I walk around with an angry face? Why am I cynical of everything?

      Fast forward a few months and that guy and I are now good buddies. 🙂

  5. I still get into victim mentality a bit and feel very alone when this happens. It’s silly, I know, I am so glad when I take a step back and see things from the big picture. I can bring myself out of it fast. I just “keep on swimming” and usually this distracts me and focuses me on progress rather than anything else!

  6. Hard to say which is the biggest. But I think it would be thinking I’m damn smart, and it can come off in a bad way with interactions with people.

    I think the reason why I think as such is because I think a HELL lot every single day. And it somehow gives me the right to label myself as super smart, even though there’s obviously still many things I don’t know about.

    What am I doing about it? Think less, haha! But more importantly, I remind myself I’m never an expert in anything. Only a student in something.

    • Jeremy, I’m on the same boat! I try to remind myself of all the times where I’ve been wrong. There are SO many times where I thought I was an expert and was absolutely floored by someone else’s expertise correcting me and making me feel a full. Humbles you quite quick. 🙂

  7. Great post, Vincent. I’m also a fan of “the minimalists” and have been living my life in more of a minimalist fashion over the past several years. After my daughter is older I really intend to downsize. I’m doing the same thing with my blog. I’m getting rid of excess buttons and plugins. I’m deleting Fan Pages and extra Twitter accounts. All the stuff I was told to do. Why? Because they only fuel my weaknesses rather than promote my strengths. Less truly is more.

  8. One flaw that I found out yesterday(and again and again in the past) was I am prone to give unsolicited advice to others.

    Sometimes, people don’t need advice. Yeah, they need help but not advice. I find that it’s more helpful for me to listen to others rather than being critical and finding faults needing fixing.

    Thanks for the post, Vincent.

  9. How did you read my mind? Appears I share all those 5 shortcomings. No, really, they are probably shared by at least 95% of everybody. Not to say you are not truly unique in your expression, just that they make up what I like to call the “human condition”.

    For instance, I woke up this morning and the sun was shining brightly through the window but still low on the horizon. It was cozy and warm in bed. I flipped onto my other side and scrunched up enjoying the last few minutes of half-sleep and quiet. You know, when you really feel rested, relaxed, and calm. I cracked open an eye and there on the other pillow was my cat. She’s my partner. Follows me everywhere. She cracked an eye open too, and then sighed and stretched. Well, everything was like a dream, a wonderful dream in the clouds when her head started going back and forth suddenly in the prelude to a barf. All over the comforter, the floor, and the rug it went. I screamed something to God about how he doesn’t really care and jumped up. Everything went downhill from there. First thing in the morning, effects you the rest of the day. One at a time I went through everything in your list. I just hope the neighbors didn’t notice. Tomorrow’s gonna be better. I’m praying. I don’t know what else to do when something or someone really punches one of my instant reaction buttons. And you know, sometimes I just don’t give a forgetaboutit.

  10. What an awesome post…am shy and finds it difficult to talk to crowd and even to an opposite sex. Also, am always thinking that people say bad things about me. Having known and acknowledged my flaws, i have taken the following steps in fixing them; working out of my comfort zone by socializing myself(partaking in group interactions and finding time to talk with atleast two persons each day, especially people of opposite sex). And I try hard to do the right thing at each tiime and to avoid stepping on others’ toes to get rid of those thoughts, believing that anyone thats speaks bad of me realizes the fact that am ahead of him or her and thus, envious.

  11. Today, I was searching for clarity on how to deal with the realization of my imperfections. Though many articles were helpful, I think it helps even more to hear/read someone’s personal experience and their difficulties in accepting or dealing with them. Your faults are definitely ones I can relate to, besides the short fuse. Your honesty inspires me to state my own faults to others, at the expense of my own pride. My main faults seem to be leading the way to other faults; because I’m shy, I’m ashamed, and because I don’t want to feel ashamed, I’m prideful, and because I’m prideful, I judge others, etc.

    I THINK TOO MUCH. I OVERANALYZE. This is why I can’t smoke weed anymore really, because it turns analytical thinking into paranoid thinking.

    I SAY I’M INTROVERTED, BUT IT’S REALLY JUST AN EXCUSE SO I DON’T HAVE TO FACE MY FEARS OF INTERACTING WITH OTHERS. I don’t want to go anywhere with friends because I’m tired, or busy, or I don’t feel well, but while everyone is out having fun, I’m wishing I was there. Most of the time, for me, the thought of a social gathering ties my stomach up in knots because I think I’m going to mess it up or look stupid or not shake someone’s hand right or any other countless number of hypothetical situations running through my head. I shake and sweat and my heart races and my mind goes blank when placed in those situations. Situations like being the new girl at work, or meeting my friends’ friends, getting in fights with my boyfriend, family gatherings. Any situation where I have to face confrontation or people I’m not used to seeing triggers this.

    I JUDGE OTHERS TO MAKE MYSELF FEEL BETTER ABOUT BEING SHY. This one is totally subconscious, and I never realized I did this until recently. When I’m intimidated by someone, I’ll think to myself, “Well, her voice is really squeaky and high so she must be dumb” if it’s a pretty girl, or, “His nose is crooked and he has bad skin” if it’s a rambunctious guy. I nitpick people and this allows me to feel power over them, whilst beneath all of this judgment I am insecure and powerless. This also validates my “introverted fallacy”, because it allows me a reason not to hang out with people. In my head (excluding the few friends and family I talk to), people are stupid and have annoying habits that I’d rather not associate with.

    I GET DEFENSIVE ONCE SOMEONE SAYS I’M WRONG. My brain when someone accuses me of being wrong: “That’s not possible. HOW can I be wrong when everyone else is dumb? I’m smarter than them, I read books, I don’t put pictures of food up on facebook or twitter and claim I’m ‘such a foodie, lolol’, I’m not like THEM.” If a friend says I’m late, I don’t say I’m sorry, I’ll say, “Psh, I wasn’t THAT late”. Or my boyfriend tells me he doesn’t want me to put his plants in the open window, I’ll say, “Well it was already open, I didn’t open it.” I rarely apologize. Once I face a confrontation, no matter how long it lasts, a few seconds in it’s already over for me, because there’s no doubt in my mind that I’m right. There’s nothing the other person can convince me of or teach me. Because if I admit I’m wrong, then I’m rendering my whole system of coping with social anxiety ineffective.

    I JUMP INTO RELATIONSHIPS BECAUSE I’M UNSURE ABOUT MY OWN SELF-WORTH. I’ve always had a huge insecurity when it comes to men and boys, and that insecurity has trumped making friends with girls. It’s like a constant competition with women for me, even when I’m already dating someone. The first thing I think when I meet a girl is either “I’m prettier than you, you pose no threat,” or “You’re prettier than me, let’s look for some faults”. When I go on double dates, I’m jealous of her and her boyfriend, even though I already have a boyfriend. I think, “he should me MY boyfriend”. I feel like an Olympic athlete who needs all the gold medals for everything, except in my case, I want all the men to be in love with ME. It’s stupid and pointless, yet it’s a habit I’ve built up over the years, and nothing makes me angrier at myself than noticing how I judge perfectly nice, sweet, pretty women. By thinking little of myself, I attempt to give myself confidence and worth by dating a bunch of men.

    I was going to write down all my faults in my journal today. But this post seemed to be a more fitting place to expose myself to. Nonetheless, I’m going to write everything down about myself that I don’t like, or others don’t like, and work on them. I figure I can better manage my faults with meditation, which is basically a tool of awareness. More awareness, I think, will make me realize what I’m doing while I’m doing it, and effectively change it. I’m working with a lot of people at work I don’t know, and I’m beginning to perform live events with a band. So. MEDITATION. FORCING MYSELF TO TALK TO OTHERS. PLAYING MUSIC ON STAGE. If none of this forces me to expose myself or talk to others, then I shall become a hermit.

  12. hey vincent that takes some serius guts to put it out theire respect for it lets see if it really feels good so ill give it a shot my biggest flaws are 1 im a very negetive person before i know what the real problem is like in any kind of relationships work/social i blame myself for the problems that a rise its like my boss says theire is something wrong with an order im directly in defence saying oh yeah that must have bin done by me in mean while in this case lets say a collegue messed it up or something like that it doesnt always mean im the problem but its how i look @ it in s split second 2 is trying to prove myself to my parents that i wont be like them 40 years old and living in a home with 24/7 social workers around them to help them out when they need it (to be clear i dont mean this in a bad way its just not something how i wanne end) 3 is that i knw i have isseus mentally but cant quite aceppt them like for example if someone treats me like a kid ill behave like one cause thats what they ask for but when im looking back on it im like oh crap im a retarded cant be any other reason for me to behave otherwise like that or when i say something what i mean differently but use the wrong words to discribe it 4 if a woman is intrested in me i love to run away when things get to close first appointment all well i bring her home she asks if we go maby someday again i say sure i had a great time but before the second thing comes im like oh no im going to mess up her life only more if i got in a relationship with her so i either text sorry cant make it have to be another time where ppl always say hmm okay lets not do that what i tried to do with all this is one always try get feed back from ppl see on how they look at the situation they say nah its not that youre retarded or no you wont end up like youre parents by the time they said it a new isseu arises where i think exactly the same the negitivity i try the go head on with that since i began to hate the way i look at things it still needs to be polished for sure but that one is getting theire slowly but the other 3 i cant deal with yet the last one is for me is real scarry since either i had a relationship before and i had to move away to another city so i lost her with it since distances and suchs things but ive ran more away from second dates then that i sticked around myself but i had before that 2 times that i had a girl was pretty serius with but then i had to move out so over the years im in love with being alone if for example a woman showed intrest in me today it might go like wanne grab a lunch im like okay then after the lunch she like oh we must do it again i will say either sure it was fun and never show up for the second lunch or ill be like eum yea that might take a while since i have busy week ahead how about another time and i never do it the thought off me messing up someone elses live is alrdy enough to make me go i mean if i made a list wich i did in what i have to offer its shorter then what good is in theire might be i anylize to much in my head with things for example like when i meet new ppl on work or where ever im like okay be polite and just greet but in my head im like we have 10% change to be friends and 90% that we cant be friends the highest then its easy you pick the highest % and poof you knw what might happen before it happens i know it might be wierd that if you do that that every situation will end up like you thought but atleased i came prepared i dont knw if thats a flaw though since anylizing helped me out alot in the past if i met a friend i knew it before atempting to make a friend if i think oh the dentist wil hurt for 5% im also shown theire that i was right about it but ohwell sorry for so meny typos my english aint that great for the rest i did try and solve it but it keeps going in circles for the most part ive bin busy with the negativity i use like a thermo meter to see how high it gets before i say thats to much first i tried to let it go till 90% before i said ok this is to negative try think about something i can do in a good way then i kept lowering it im now atleased thinking about a few positive things about myself like im a great cook im avarge in gaming not to good but not to bad either and even though i might be negetive about myself i still can give something about someone elses problems or is that one avoiding my own problems in the progress im not sure about that one and everytime i hit the limit i recite those good things eventually i do believe im a good cook and in gaming im always the co-op typ i like working together theire to over come obsticles like a terible boss that keeps you from going forward so working together in that envirment is a positive thing and i do know what my flaws are even though i dont knw how to deal with some off em yet but its a idea i thought up since if to meny negativty makes me feel like everythings crap maby if i do it the other way around it will also work for positive thinking + i came across a page that gave it as advice for the other 3 i never said it outloud to anyone or acctually i dont think i ever spoke about it sure the negativity makes ppl to notice it and with he others i never spoke about so no one could know it f i have isseus i spew out the small things that bother me to prevent the bucket to overflow but things like this i never sat down with anyone to really talk about theise kind off isseus i grew up in foster care so the firstt thing i learned was to keep youre emotion in chek since foster care was always a battle to survive not to be alive + i saw so meny ppl in those kind off situation that i never really trusted anyone with it since it could harm my progress of getting my own house and live my own dream its like screaming you dont feel a daym thing in mean while you do but ppl never can see youre real face unless they break into youre private time wich only happens if they suspect youre a danger to youreself or others wich i whernt at the time so they never had a reason to invade my personal area like my room i was back then always the one that waited until it was surly secure to let it out and no one would notice but im still unsure if this is a relief iguess well find out in the next month or 4 greetings gohan

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