Why Vulnerability Is The Key To Real Strength

"Bran thought about it. 'Can a man still be brave if he's afraid?' 
'That is the only time a man can be brave,' his father told him." - George R.R. Martin, A Game Of Thrones

Back when I read this quote in the original book series by George R.R. Martin it took me a second to really think about that statement - and it is profoundly and beautifully true. Taking a step back and searching for the term "brave" in the Oxford Dictionary, it says: "ready to face and endure danger or pain" (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/brave

So, there can't be one side without the other. So in conclusion, I think it is immensely important to embrace vulnerability to push oneself to new heights. I really believe this is the key to become a better person, cope with your weaknesses and really invest in your strenghts. 

It might not be the solution for everyone, but for me it worked over the years in an academic, creative and professional environment. Dealing with vulnerability can be tricky but I want to give you some examples from my experience to get my point across.

I'm an introvert, but I'am craving for attention

I've mentioned this before, in my core personality I'm very much an introvert. I like to have few but very close friends, I avoid crowded places and I usually don't talk much, because I enjoy listening to people. Still, there are times that I act exactly counter-intuitive by speaking publicly or playing music in front of an audience. By embracing my vulnerability as an introvert, to hate being put on a spot, I tend to over-deliver on those extrovert moments. What I've learned for myself is that you can be strong, if you want to. Executing on this strategy for years now, I've developed a craving for those moments, because I know that now, I can tackle them almost better by the minute, every time. Some people might even call it some kind of "shock-therapy", odly enough, it worked.

Owning my mistakes gives me so much value, because it puts me in a "learning"- state of mind 

I'am not a fan of blaming others for my mistakes. I really had to work on that, especially during my early years as a child, but admitting that you did something wrong, owning that mistake and then fix it(!), is a tremendous experience. Self-awareness is key here. By doing something wrong, you give yourself the chance to do something right and develop yourself  in the aftermath.

When was the last time you were wrong? How did you cope and how did it work out, I want to know. 

Being vulnerable underlines the fact that you are human

The one fact that does have an impact on yourself and on your social circle, is that people will sympathise with you, if you are vulnerable. Appearing to be Superman only brings you this far. By showing your human site, you can win massively and have more impact on your surroundings. One of the things I value most is honesty. By being honest you build trust and relationships. Being grateful for that and communicating your feelings when someone disappoints you or vice versa, only strengthens the bond - otherwise the relationship might not be as strong as you thought it was.

In the end, your social environment does matter

That being said, everything you are and want to achieve does heavily depend on your situation in your job and/or life. Although I recommend being honest and vulnerable, there might be environments in which those traits might not get you far, because the people you are with are looking for the opposite. And that is ok, you have to decide for yourself what you want and won't do. 

To conclude, putting myself in situtations where I was vulnerable gave me a massive insight into my skills and I was given honest feedback from strangers. This is the reason for the cover photo, when I'm playing music in front of people in my free time, this is the most vulnerable spot. It plays outright against my prominent character traits (although it seems a bit twisted, I agree) being an introvert but gives me the most rewarding feeling afterwards. 

Bottom line: You should try it sometime.

Thanks for reading!

Sebastian