The Fault Paradox


“He was an underdog and a misfit, and that gave him the freedom to try things no one else even dreamt of.”

—Malcolm Gladwell, David and Goliath

Flaws. As writers, we’re told again and again that our characters need flaws to be believable, interesting, human. A stump leg or a speech impediment, that socially awkward brilliance or stubborn sass—are they not somehow endearing when manifested in the ones we love? Mr. Darcy, the proud; Hermione, the know-it-all; Sherlock Holmes, the drug-addicted sociopath.

We were born into inadequacy. We can never be perfect. Yet what a happy and bizarre paradox it is to know that our flaws can make us beautiful! Without flaws, there is no room for mercy and redemption; and when someone (real or fictional) surpasses the hindrances of their flaws, or better yet: uses them to bring about something good, what incredible merit they are due! The greater the flaws, the greater a noble action done despite them.

In light of our imperfection, we can only pray, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”