How to Use Our Weaknesses to Our Advantage

Image by Sarej at sxc.huHow do you feel about your weaknesses? Are they things you’re ashamed of and try to hide? Or do you brush them off because we’re only human?

Have you considered your weaknesses might actually be a secret source of strength?

Ehud was an Israelite who lived sometime between 1380 BC and 1050 BC when the kingdom of Moab had beaten Israel in battle. After 18 years of living as subjects of Moab, the Israelites chose Ehud to deliver their annual tribute.

But Ehud wasn’t a normal messenger. He was left-handed, and he had a plan.

In the ancient Middle East, being left-handed was often looked at as a disability, but it’s possible that Ehud and many of his family members used this seeming disadvantage to their advantage. They took what was a weakness and found a way to turn it into a strength that allowed them to be unique fighters.

Ehud made a two-edged sword the same length as the distance from his elbow to the tip of his middle finger, and he hid it under his clothes on his right thigh.

After the tribute was paid to the king of Moab, Ehud sent those who carried the tribute back home ahead of him, and he turned back to talk to the king alone.

“I have a secret message for you, O king,” Ehud said.

The king sent away all his attendants so only he and Ehud remained in the cool room. Ehud motioned the king closer, grabbed his sword with his left hand, and plunged it into the king’s belly fat. The king was so fat, in fact, that his belly flab closed around Ehud’s sword, hiding it.

Ehud left, locking the door behind him. When the king’s servants returned and found the door locked, they assumed the king was relieving himself. So they waited. And waited. And waited, until finally they became embarrassed by how long the king was taking and unlocked the door to find their king dead.

The Israelites took advantage of the disorder caused by the death of the Moabite king to free themselves. They ended up having peace for 80 years.

All thanks to Ehud’s seeming weakness. Had he been a right-handed man and reached for his sword with his right hand, the Moabite king would have seen the attack coming. He would have been able to stop Ehud in time, or at least scream for help. Only a left-handed man could have succeeded, because the king didn’t expect an attack from the left hand.

Retired professional basketball player Michael Jordan once said, “My attitude is that, if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.”

We all have the capability to turn what looks like a weakness into a strength.

My tendency to be stubborn (which is a nicer way of saying unreasonably obstinate and inflexible) about some things can also mean I’m determined and don’t easily give up. I just need to watch that I give other viewpoints genuine consideration.

My husband is a procrastinator. He puts off or delays even important things until the last minute. While it’s difficult for a workaholic like me to see sometimes, when properly harnessed, this means he knows how to separate work time and play time in a way I can’t seem to master.

People who stutter have the potential to become some of the most talented speakers and actors because their weakness forces them to pay attention to their breathing, inflection, and tone. Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, and James Earl Jones all stuttered.

Not every weakness can be turned into a strength, but I think many of them can be, depending on how we look at them. If we can figure out how to bind the aspect of our weakness that hinders us, it allows the strength hidden within to come out.

Do you have a weakness that you think could be turned into a strength? Or do you think that we shouldn’t bother working on our weaknesses and should instead focus on making our strengths even stronger?

Photo Credit: Andrzej Pobiedziński (obtained via

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