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Show me Your Weakness

We all like strong characters. Yet we don’t. You know what I mean. Well, maybe you won’t, but you will soon. I’ve actually posted about believability before, but this is a little different. Here are some examples.

Rocky Balboa. Determination. Drive. The incredible ability to take a punch, and with a cut below the eye, make a comeback. Determination puts him in the ring, often where he shouldn’t be. His weakness is his love of fighting. But that same love, and the desire to win, grants hi victory over bigger, faster, and better fighters.

John McClane. Die Hard. Die Harder. Die Hard with a Vengeance. You remember this guy? His weakness is his tragic relationships with his (ex) wife, daughter, and nearly everyone around him. He has one passion: getting the bad guy, even if he has to bend the law to do it. His strength is his determination. In every story, he gets his ass kicked, over and over. His relationships are stretched, always near the breaking point.

Every one he comes up against is strong too. He does not come up against weak men and easily overcome them. Instead he is victorious through iron will. We all want to identify with that and believe that if push came to shove, we would do the same. We identify with both his strengths and weaknesses.

Katniss Everdeen. Hunger Games? Don’t groan. Just hear me out. Her weakness is loyalty, from the very beginning. In the end, her loyalty also allows her to achieve final victory, but it costs her, and several times along the way (book and movie) we wonder if it will be her undoing. But it is also her strength (along with some sick archery skills).

All of these very different heroes have one common trait. They are not afraid to show us their weaknesses. They overcome those at least as strong as they are, most often stronger. Their weakness is also often a part of their strength. Even though they triumph, it is not without hardship.

So stop being afraid. Show us your flaws. In the end, they may be the very things that save you.

Published inAdvice for AuthorsOpinion