7 ‘Weaknesses’ That Actually Benefit You

UPDATED: June 9, 2016
PUBLISHED: June 9, 2016

Our parents tell us to have a thicker skin, our teachers tell us laziness breeds contempt and our bosses tell us we’re just “too nice” to be a respected leader. It’s time to take a second look at these so-called weaknesses and re-evaluate their role in our lives.

Related: 8 Traits You Need to Be Successful (Your IQ Isn’t One of Them)

Some of the world’s greatest inventors procrastinated for years before ever pulling the trigger on their bright idea. Steve Jobs was known for his direct and sometimes brutal honesty—but you could always count on him to tell you like it is.

Scroll through these seven character traits with a fresh eye and see how you can embrace your weaknesses instead of fighting them.

1. Anxiousness

I find myself awake at night worrying about what might happen in a particular situation or going through the “what-if’s.” Although this led to many missed nights of sleep, it has also helped me methodically work through some barriers and problems, looking at more angles than I would have if I hadn’t worried. I just have learned to worry about the right things and not everything.

Cynthia Johnson, American Addiction Centers

2. Laziness

Bill Gates said, “I will always choose a lazy person to do a difficult job… because he will find an easier way to do it.” Deep down, I love spending time with people and building things (like companies). I’d do that even if I weren’t paid to do it. That said, I hate wasted energy with a passion. I hate doing things because “that’s the way it’s done” and frequently find shortcuts that prove successful.

Brennan White, Cortex

3. Being Too Nice

In my world of tough, drawn-out negotiations, I’ve been doubted as being “too nice” and unable to effectively close deals. But this trait is a driver of my success. By legitimately placing clients’ goals first, I am able to build a trust that goes beyond a contract. And if I need to say no or be firm on a requirement, people know that it is nonnegotiable.

—Mark Daoust, Quiet Light Brokerage, Inc.

4. Paranoia

Famous entrepreneur Andrew Grove said it best: “Only the paranoid survive.” I’ve found this to be especially true and am grateful for my healthy dose of paranoia. By always accounting for what can go wrong, my paranoia has prevented serious setbacks that could have derailed our company. Accounting for potential downsides doesn’t make you a pessimist, it makes you a realist. Be paranoid.

—Andrew Thomas, SkyBell Video Doorbell

5. Brutal Honesty

Sometimes I can be brutally honest. I tend to not beat around the bush and I value open dialogue. The downside? Some people feel completely uncomfortable during frank conversations. In the long run, being totally honest has helped me to stay true to my path and vision.

—Stephen Gill, Tiller

6. Intensity

Whatever I am into, I am intensely into—intensely enthusiastic, driven and demanding. My highs are high and my lows are low. This can be too much for some people, but it is why I’ve never accepted passable products or good enough operations. Intensity has bred high standards and an emotional toughness essential for a successful entrepreneur.

—Erica Easley, Gumball Poodle

7. Naivety

Yesterday a friend asked me, “How did you get the courage to risk starting your own business?” It was a good question. I told him, “I think I was too naive in my early 20s to understand the magnitude of what we were trying to do.” People often think too much and scare themselves away from following their dreams. My naivety, a trait many would consider negative, kept me from doing that.

—Jesse Lear, V.I.P. Waste Services, LLC

Related: 5 Qualities You Need to Reach Your Biggest Goals

Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.