May 25, 2011

Ch. 799 - The List: Strengths

I got me some guns, lemme tell ya.  I'm easily the strongest person I know.

Like I said in my last post... a comedian.

I'm one of those people who doesn't like to think about what they are good at.  It has taken quite some time for me to be able to accept compliments graciously, and I have often needed affirmation after affirmation to finally believe that what was being said of me was true.  I have come to accrue over the years, then, ideas of my strengths.  Things I am good at, abilities, etc.  Even some skills I have had to 'learn' to see I actually possess.  And yet at the same time, I often feel like I have no idea what's really included as a strength of mine.

I suppose I could go with the generic, obvious things... like... writing.  I write in a variety - for lack of a better word - of ways.  For example, I am able to switch from a very research-based writing style to a nonchalant, unpatterned style.  

With lists.
[For example.  ... That's how 'The List' series got started, after all!]

I don't know.  It is my belief that anyone can write.  And who is to judge what is "good" writing, anyway?  ... Alright, grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. aside.  I like to write.  But that doesn't mean it's a strength.

Moving on, I would also say that a strength is my public speaking ability.  While I do tend to be a better communicator with the written word, as long as I have time to prepare, I can be a very good speaker.  So I may include my tendency for preparedness as a strength, as well.

I am an excellent organizer.
That sounds so much nicer than, "I have OCD."


Well, my mom just walked into my room.
So I asked her what my strengths were.
"One of your strengths is that you're pretty."

She also mentioned poise.
A kind and gentle heart.
A heart for children.
And those who are downtrodden.

She also mentioned information processing. 
And a variety of other things.

So yes, some of them may be considered strengths.... others, not so much.
But she is my mother and I love hearing what she has to say.
She knows me better than anyone.
Save God, of course.
I love her.

But going on from there... mmm.  I don't know.

Language acquisition?  Haha.
Ability to adapt?  See things through different lenses?


If you didn't already know this, I often am a lot of weeks "behind" my posts.  But I like the idea of consistency, so with this 'List' series I've been spacing each post by five days from when I first started.  So even though it is actually August 17, I will post this as May 25... and continue this way until I am done with the List posts.  And here's something semi-interesting: I started this post about a week and a half ago.  August 8, to be specific.  And on August 10, I had a meeting with a couple people and was presented with some books after the meeting.  A couple were to read throughout the fall as part of my internship.  One was for a study I will be part of.  And a couple were just read-through-them-if-you've-got-some-time type of books.  One that was recommended I read through first was this book called StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath.  There's a code in the back of the book that allows the reader to access an online "test" so that he or she may be presented with their top five "strengths".  So here I am, two days after beginning a post that I really have no idea how to write... when I am given this book.  I'm sure you can imagine my delight.  So I went ahead and took the test.  ... The long, ridiculous, strangely-worded, "unfair" test.  You know the type... where you so badly want to say, "Yes, that's me!" to both of the answers they provide.  Boooooo.  So after forty-five frustrating minutes of arguing with myself over practically each question - but only for about 18 seconds because it automatically moves to the next question after 20 seconds! - I received my results:



I'll give you some quotes from each section in the book:

"I am inquisitive.  I collect things - information or objects.  Because it [whatever 'it' may be] interests me.  My mind finds so many things interesting.  The world is exciting precisely because of its infinite variety and complexity." 

"I see the potential in others.  In my view no individual is fully formed... [but rather] a work in progress, alive with possibilities.  When I interact with others, my goal is to help them experience success... to challenge them.  Over time many will seek me out for help and encouragement because on some level they know that my helpfulness is both genuine and fulfilling to me."

[Alright, this is the one I see in myself the most, so I'll basically be writing down the entire paragraph that explains Connectedness.]
"Things happen for a reason.  I am sure of it because in my soul I know that we're all connected.  Yes, we are individuals, responsible for our own judgments and in possession of our own free will, but nonetheless we are part of something larger.  ... I gain confidence from knowing that we are not isolated from one another or from the earth and the life on it.  This feeling of Connectedness implies certain responsibilities.  If we are all part of a larger picture, then we must not harm others because we will be harming ourselves.  We must not exploit because we will be exploiting ourselves.  My awareness of these responsibilities create my value system.  I am considerate, caring, and accepting.  Certain of the unity of humankind, I am a bridge builder for people of different cultures.  Sensitive to the invisible hand, I can give others comfort that there is a purpose beyond our humdrum lives.  The exact articles of your faith will depend on my upbringing and my culture, but my faith is strong.  It sustains me and my close friends in the face of life's mysteries."  Note: this book is not a "religious" or "Christian" book.  Just fyi.

"I like to think.  I like mental activity.  This need for mental activity may be focused... [or] this mental activity may very well lack focus.  The theme of Intellection doesn't dictate what I'm thinking about; it simply describes that I like to think.  I'm the kind of person who enjoys my time alone because it's my time for musing and reflection.  I'm introspective.  It may lead to a slight sense of discontent as I compare what I'm actually doing with all the thoughts and ideas that my mind conceives [YOU HAVE NO IDEA!].  Or it may tend toward more pragmatic matters..."

[This one explains me very well, too.  Expect another longer bit of reading.]
"My world needs to be predictable... ordered and planned.  So I instinctively impose structure on my world.  I set up routines.  I am not necessarily neat and clean [oh yes, I am], but I do need precision.  Faced with the inherent messiness of life, I want to feel in control.  Lacking this theme of Discipline, others may sometimes resent my need for order, but there need not be conflict.  I must understand that not everyone feels my urge for predictability; they have other ways of getting things done.  Likewise, I can help them understand and even appreciate my need for structure.  My dislike of surprises [false], my impatience with errors [true], my routines [semi-true], and my detail orientation [TRUE] don't need to be misinterpreted as controlling behaviors that box people in.  Rather, these behaviors can be understood as my instinctive method for maintaining my progress and my productivity in the face of life's many distractions."

So there you go.
Each section has a few quotes from people that are under that category, which were neat to read.  The sections also have 'Ideas for Action' so that you can focus on your strengths and, well, strengthen them.  Develop them, really.  There are also some points made about working with people who have whatever strength you're reading about: also very cool. 

I would say that for the most part, I do agree with my assessment.  Some more than others, obviously.  And in looking at the other themes, I found myself thinking, 'This is totally me!  This should be on the list!' a few times.  But you can't expect a website or a book to know/tell everything about you.  That would be absurd. 

For example, I would have included: Adaptability, Deliberative [... well, maybe], Empathy, Individualization, Relator.

This has turned out to be an interesting post for me.  I love learning as I go along.  
It's good for me.

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