Can you relate to this feeling? You are sitting somewhere, let’s say the office or the library and suddenly a sound that you didn’t notice before just stops. You didn’t consciously think about it, it never bothered you but suddenly you feel this surprising sense of relief.
Now did you ever happen to work or study in an environment which has usually a steady stream of background hum but doesn’t because nobody but you is there? Did you notice how surprisingly productive you are, even after working for six hours? Clearly not everybody is the same but I was astounded by those effects.
This is very similar to the effect you feel when you do less of what has been called learned behaviours. Learned behaviours are things you are good at, which others might actually mistake for your strengths, but take energy away from you. They are not the ‘obvious bad guys’ like a supermean boss. They are as invisible as the sound of the air-condition and that’s why they might get you into more trouble than your weaknesses. At least with your weaknesses you probably know what they are. But these learned behaviours, they just quietly suck the energy out of you without even alerting you to their presence.
So think about the following things: stuff you do often and regularly and that you probably do pretty well. If you write a list you can then write next to those activities how you feel after two hours of doing just that. Do you feel energized or spent? Happy or slightly irritated (but without the intensity of negative emotions that dealing with your weaknesses bring)?
Once you identify those behaviours try to see if you can reduce them without anything bad happening to you. If that is not possible try to do the strengths-sandwich: do something energizing before and right after and see how that feels.
Awareness of learned behaviours is basically like knowing where the switch is to that air-condition: you can still turn it on but you know how to turn it off and get a sense of relief.
If you want to find out about your learned behaviours you can take the online test by those people who coined the phrase ‘learned behaviour’. I am not affiliated with them: http://www.cappeu.com/Realise2.aspx