Sunday, August 4, 2013

Silver Linings: Discover your Major Strengths

Curiosity and interest in the world = traveling
Regardless of whether you are currently seeking a job and want to have a ready answer to the question "What are your major strengths?", it is never a bad idea to take time to reflect on this question.

Knowing our strengths can work as a tool to leverage these strengths and push projects forward in your unique way. It's all about honoring the unique individual, you.

Moreover, research has demonstrated the impact of using our strengths on our mood and effectiveness: knowing and using our top strengths increases our happiness.

As Caroline Miller puts it:
"We do not become happy BECAUSE we are successful, we become successful because we start in a flourishing place, and using strengths assists in getting there."
A free online tool that you can use to assess your strengths, is the VIA Survey by University of Pennsylvania. You'll need to register to use the website, and -unless my spam filter did a great job- I've not been receiving any obnoxious emails from UPenn. Sleek, great work by them - and an eye-opening test.

As a researcher, I was not too surprised about my top strengths: "Curiosity and interest in the world", and "Love of learning". The most interesting part for me, was to go over the entire list according to my results, and see the relative positions of these strengths with regard to each other. I use these results to analyze a major task at hand:
  • Viewing my list from top strengths to mehs, 
  • Deciding how I can contribute to this project from my unique standpoint,
  • Bringing my personal spice into the solution.

So, if you can carve out 20 to 30 minutes today, give yourself the gift of self-reflection. Fill out the survey, and link it to something that you are working on.
Maybe it gives you some insight on why you are struggling with a certain aspect. Maybe it gives you a hint of how to leverage your potential to tackle a certain problem.
Certainly you will learn something.

Did you take the survey, or have you taken a similar survey in the past? What did you learn? Please share your experiences in the comments section!

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