strengths way of life
There is this fear that if we pay more attention to our strengths we will get lazy, rest on our laurels and stop growing.
Apart from the fact that strengths make us feel so good that we want to expand without prodding from the outside even if that is not the case try doing something you do well without expanding. Boredom will set in soon enough and with it the motivation to grow. We don’t have to beat ourselves up to grow or constantly run.
When we actually rest on our laurels too long it becomes boring and that is a blessing. If we never rest on them it’s very hard to ever feel satisfied with what we have achieved. So let boredom help you guide the way.
As I was playing the piano I had this impulse to skip over a part I had always struggled with. I invoked a loophole that went along these lines: I am not good at it, it’s not my strength, so I should play the parts that I am good at better.
However we have to be careful when we use strengths as excuses or confuse them with something that has nothing to do with our character strengths: the muscle memory needed to play piano has nothing to do with my strengths of strategy, intellection or connectedness to name a few. One way that this becomes evident is that when playing an instrument after lots of drill practice (just practicing the same section over and over) it can suddenly become one of the easiest and most enjoyable parts of the whole song. This is an indication that it has nothing to do with weaknesses: real weaknesses are not simply turned around after a few drills and become enjoyable and pleasurable. If they do they were not weaknesses to begin with but just things you had little experience with.
Only 50% of the challenge of being disabled comes from actually being disabled. We disable each other by
While looking for outward inspiration is a good first step we can never find balance in anything if we don’t look at our own life. The strengths lens can help us with that. Usually strengths are used to discover what we enjoy and what gives us energy and meaning. But by asking some simple and strengths lens inspired questions we can get helpful clues:
People often think that not feeling enough is a personal problem to be solved. While it can be solved on a personal level instilling the feeling that we are not enough is integral to many things working the way they do: imagine if you didn’t need Loréal to tell you that you are worth it. Where would it leave them? Or how about employers keen on getting every ounce of work out of you while paying you the smallest possible amount? What would happen to them and their tactics if people knew their worth and knew what is fair and what is not? I am not saying there’s a giant conspiracy going on. However lots of companies and institutions can only work on the premise that people feel they are not good enough. If you feel good about yourself you might enjoy putting make-up on but you won’t buy every product they come up with. You might enjoy shopping without spending every weekend at the mall. So you are not alone. We are all made to feel this way. However we can decide to take back some of that power by finding other ways of feeling worthy. One way is to learn to appreciate your strengths and the strengths of others. By not owning your strengths you give others the power over you to use you through your weaknesses.
So you are ready to give it a go. You want to express strengths more in your life but like starting other habits, this seems daunting. One way of solving the problem is building
The downside of a famous Gandhi quote “Be the change you want to see in the world” is that it can put a lot of pressure on you. I don’t doubt that Gandhi was right about this but I observed a curious thing: taking this quote to heart can lead you to freeze.
Just imagine you call the fire department because your house is burning. They arrive with flaring sirens, jump out, put on their gear, go find all the water hydrants and then start reading “The Dummy’s Guide to Fire Fighting”.
I discovered the strengths approach as an overweight nine-year old kid training for my first judo competition. The problem with martial arts is that your opponents are not the kids who have the same level of skill as you but kids with the same weight. Which means that I had to compete against kids who had trained anything from two to four years more than I had. read more …