Strength is crucial in life.
Let’s face it:
You need to be strong to ride this ride.
There are so many unexpected twists and turns along the way, and plenty of people we come across who will test our resolve.
But in choosing how to present ourselves and what to idealize, there’s a hidden danger:
The danger is that you buy into personality traits that seem to exude confidence and strength.
These traits seem impressive, but they actually weaken your foundation and make you more vulnerable to exploitation and manipulation.
Let’s dive in:
1) Spock-like rationality
Rationality has a definite role to play in being a strong and effective person.
But it can go way too far.
If you come off like Spock from Star Trek, rationality has gone too far.
Using your brain is important, and logic absolutely does matter.
Many examples of folks letting their emotions and impulses get the better of them show the precise importance of rationality and keeping your head.
But if taken too far, rationalism actually cripples your ability to fully experience life and understand what your heart or intuition is trying to tell you.
On the flip side, the opposite can also happen…
2) High trust in your intuition or ‘gut’ when times get tough
Being overly rational cripples you, but so does being overly emotive and intuitive.
It’s all about balance, which is why these personality traits can mislead you if you double down on them too fully.
Trusting your gut has benefits, such as when you think you might be walking into a dangerous situation or have the feeling you really like somebody you just met.
However if you try to frequently “go with your gut” you can end up neglecting many of the more practical necessities of life.
The point is this:
Your “gut” all too often can become confused with your desires.
And when that happens you can end up lazing around listening to music all day and sleepwalking through life because you think it’s what your “gut” wants you to do.
3) Strong tranquility in the face of obstacles and changes
Life will always include changes, many of which we’d prefer not to happen.
But if you’re cultivating an intentionally tranquil disposition to everything that happens and challenges, it can be a real miscalculation.
Many of us are taught by religious and spiritual leaders that cultivating tranquility in our hearts and forgiveness, love and “good vibrations” will lead our life in the right direction.
There’s certainly some truth to that!
But it’s important not to ignore problems or pretend everything is fine when it’s not.
In business, love and every other area, sometimes it’s absolutely necessary to focus a little on what’s going wrong in order to take real steps to solve it.
4) Fierce independence and stubbornness to accept help
Another character trait that people think makes them strong but can actually act as a detriment is very stubborn independence.
Being your own man or woman is necessary and healthy; we should all strive to avoid codependency or leaning on others for our well-being and decisions.
But being independent to the extent of turning down help and not wanting to confide at all in others.
This tends to isolate you in a silo where even when you do succeed and have great breakthroughs, there’s nobody to share them with and thank!
On the flip side of being too independent, is being too confiding, and being overly giving and open emotionally…
5) Being extremely giving and emotionally generous
Your attention, time, energy and love are yours to decide what to do with.
When you give them away too easily and are very open, you can deplete your energy and end up burned out and lost in life.
This isn’t just about trusting or giving to the wrong people…
It’s more about what you choose to use your energy and time for.
When you focus on giving of your time and care to others who may not deserve or appreciate it, you set yourself up for being hurt and being exploited.
It’s best to ensure that you’re well taken care of before focusing on the needs of others.
6) Vulnerability and high sensitivity in interpersonal relations
It’s always a better idea to open up a bit cautiously to others.
This isn’t only a matter of trusting the wrong people either.
As I got at in the previous point, what we use our time and energy for has a big impact on our well-being and ability to care for ourselves.
When you’re very sensitive and involved in how you feel and how others feel, it can become a full-time job.
It can also descend into people-pleasing where you end up spending your time checking up on everyone you know to ensure they’re doing fine.
Some days they won’t be fine, and on those days you may find it brings you down, too, an example of how being overly emotionally open can become a form of codependency.
7) Surefire and swaggering self-confidence
Confidence in yourself and abilities can be a helpful and useful trait.
But when confidence reaches the level that we see in some celebrities, marketing gurus and leaders, it becomes a toxic form of self-sabotage.
Eventually something in life is going to challenge all of us beyond our ability to know what to do or easily “beat.”
That’s when too much confidence and surety in ourselves being right and being awesome can actually backfire and leave us even more scared and lost than we otherwise would be.
Be confident, but make sure to still cultivate a healthy dose of humility.
What happens when you embrace these traits?
When you get very invested in the above personality traits there are a number of downsides.
The top issues with each trait are listed below:
1) Over-rationality makes you underestimate the unpredictable and emotional parts of life
When you live too much in your head you miss out on a big part of life.
Logic is necessary, but trying to ignore or downplay the emotional side of life will leave you stumped in many situations.
Love, loss, finding your purpose, dealing with challenges in friendships and relationships:
You’ll need to use your heart for these things, not just your head!
2) Being too intuitive blinds you to unforeseen circumstances and practical obstacles
When you rely a lot on your gut, however, you end up with the flip side of the problem:
Unpredicted things hit you and you aren’t sure how to deal with them.
While you were trying to go with the flow, the flow became a waterfall and you’re about to fall off.
3) Being too placid in the face of adversity (or victory) dulls your ability to respond effectively
When you treat hardships and victories in a very tranquil way, you cripple your ability to act.
Not being invested in the outcome in terms of your emotional well-being is crucial.
But truly being indifferent and placid about what happens in your life can quickly lead to apathy and indifference.
4) Being very independent cuts you off from help and fellowship
Fierce independence can lead to a lack of social and career ties that would have helped you enormously.
It can also lead to you being socially and professionally isolated when you hit milestones or want to collaborate.
5) Being too emotionally generous opens you to exploitation and starves you of your own care
When you spend your attention and demonstrate a lot of care for others it can act as a form of self-abandoning.
It’s important not to forget yourself and your own worth.
You can only truly care for others when you have a solid foundation of your own.
Making the care of others your priority sounds good, but it can also lead to being exploited and taken advantage of in numerous ways.
6) Being too sensitive about the feelings of others makes you a slave to their whims and moods
Emotional intelligence is important and useful.
But when you become deeply invested in the feelings and reactions of others, you make yourself subject to their whims and moods.
It’s important to realize that not everybody can like you and that’s OK.
In fact, it’s just a part of life.
Best to do your best to be a respectful and honest person without catering to the feelings and agendas of others.
7) Being extremely confident blinds you to fears and challenges you haven’t conquered
Confidence is king!
But being too confident can blind you to your weaknesses and challenges that await you.
We’re all going to come across obstacles and fears that aren’t easy or always even possible to overcome.
That’s why some humility is always necessary in addition to being sure of yourself.