8 Reasons Finding Your Strengths Will Benefit You

Finding your strengths

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Finding your strengths will benefit you.

We live in a world that focuses on weaknesses. Our psychology field is founded in a disease model (aka what is wrong with you, and how do we fix it). Meanwhile, our advertisers know they can make more money off selling us what we’re missing.

Focusing on our weaknesses even makes intuitive sense. I mean, why wouldn’t we want to focus on our weaknesses to improve? They provide the most significant opportunity for growth.

The thing is, emphasizing our weaknesses – while noble in theory – is actually taking away from our chance at happiness.

Instead, we should be putting energy into discovering our strengths.

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What is a strength?

If you’ve ever had an interview, you’ve been prepared to list off your “greatest strengths” (ironically, we quiver at the popular question, “What are your weaknesses?”).

But do you know what a strength is?

The easy answer is this: a strength is something you’re good at.

However, this definition doesn’t go far enough for you to clearly understand how they fit into our lives.

Think of defining a strength like unearthing a fossil. If you stopped digging after finding a bone, you might be like, “Huh, this bone is cool.” And then, you wouldn’t find out it’s not a chicken wing bone from last Tuesday but actually the toenail of a dinosaur. (I’m still wondering if I have an overexaggerated sense of my strength with similes.)

It’s worth digging deeper at defining what a strength is.

Positive psychology has produced several different definitions, lists, and criteria for strengths. While nobody has declared a clear winner, some commonalities have emerged.

Finding your strengths is more than looking for talents or traits.

A strength must show itself in a person’s thoughts, behaviors, feelings, and actions. It should not be a one-time showing, nor should it only be applicable in a specific situation.

Instead, it should apply across a broad range of situations and environments.

Two leading strength-based scientists, Peterman and Seligman, established specific criteria for what constitutes a strength:

  • A strength contributes to the fulfillment of a good life
  • A strength can be seen as a good thing, regardless of the outcome of a given situation
  • A strength, when displayed, does not diminish other people
In other words, a strength is good, leads to good, and helps others be good, too.

You must like your strengths.

You also must like your strengths, despite this aspect often being overlooked.

I know some people will argue that you can possess a strong quality and not necessarily enjoy doing it. For instance, perhaps Santa doesn’t really like commanding hundreds of elves; he’s just really good at delegating toy-making and riding sleighs.

However, I’d argue that nobody, not even Santa, can sustain something they don’t enjoy doing for very long.

To be a real strength, you must enjoy and take pride in it.

When you are exhibiting it, you will lose time in your task. It will come naturally, and as a result, build over time.

Like your strengths

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8 Reasons Finding your Strengths will Benefit You

Now that you understand what strengths are, you need to understand your own. If you’re convinced of the importance of finding your own strengths, you can jump right to Four Simple Ways you Can Discover your Strengths.

If you’re interested in learning why finding your strengths will significantly enhance your overall performance and happiness in life, read on.

Finding your strengths will:

1. Give you a sense of direction

Have you ever felt like you don’t know what you should do in life?* (*Pretty much everyone at some point in their lives.)

Finding your strengths will not give you a magical compass that points to your life purpose, but it can give you a nod in the right direction. Kind of like those ushers in giant stadiums; they direct you toward a general area (yet they still make you find your own damn seat).

Finding your strengths will allow you to narrow down what you should be doing.

This is why it’s important to remember that your strengths are something you like.

For example, I know that I’m organized, disciplined, and good at expository writing. As I was trying to find a way to start writing more in my life, blogging became a great option. I knew that I’d be good at all of the “extra work” of blogging.

Had I not known my strengths, I might be sitting in a cafe somewhere right now trying to crank out a long and rambling literary rendition entitled Moby Dick Two: A Bigger Whale and a Smaller Boat.

In my mind, it would’ve been a huge hit. In reality, it would’ve been a disaster.

Finding your strengths will give you a sense of direction to work with when trying to answer broader questions.

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2. Improve your performance

Finding your strengths will also help you to improve your performance. Whether you are a student, an employee, or a Hobby Lobby craft enthusiastic, you need to know what you’re good at to tailor your work to those strengths.

Let’s go with the simplest example. Imagine that you’re a craft enthusiast, and you want to make Christmas gifts for your entire family. If you know what your strengths are (hot gluing and basketweaving), it won’t serve you well to take on a painting and origami project.

Finding your strengths will allow you to make choices to set you up for success.

Additionally, even when you can’t necessarily choose the work, knowing your strengths can still help you improve your performance. You can identify where you should step up and bring your strengths to work, as well as where you might want to seek extra assistance or delegate.

Your productivity will thrive if you can incorporate your strengths into your daily tasks.

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3. Help you achieve your goals

In the same vein, finding your strengths will get you a step closer to achieving your goals. Goal-setting is a beast in its own right, but your strengths play a factor in both the setting and achieving of goals.

Firstly, you’re going to want to set goals that play to your strengths.

As much as I love dancing, it wouldn’t serve me to strive to be a professional dancer. It isn’t realistic; my body will never move that gracefully. (Don’t worry, this doesn’t deter me from frequently busting a move or watching the Step Up series).

Secondly, once you set achievable goals, you’ll want to use your strengths to pursue them.

Let’s say you want to start a business. How can you fully utilize the things you’re good at, and minimize your weaknesses? What can you bring to a team?

Finding your strengths is necessary to set and achieve goals in your life.

Finding your strengths

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4. Build your self-confidence

It’s easy for our self-confidence to take a hit when we are inundated with success stories in the media and social media.

Think you’re a good runner? This four-year-old just completed his fourth marathon. Proud of your leadership skills? These leaders are being recognized for changing their company and the world. Consider yourself smart? These people have brains that can beat computers.

You don’t help yourself by comparing your accomplishments to others, but sometimes it’s difficult to avoid. Comparison can also emphasize your weaknesses, and you fall into a mindset of “I’m not good enough.”

By finding your strengths, you can focus on your positive attributes.

While you might not be the best in the world, a strength can still change your perspective from “not good enough” to “this is something I’m good at.”

Remember, strengths are good, feel good, and do good for others. As such, they can help build your self-confidence.

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5. Buffer you from stress

Life hands out stress like evangelists hand out church fliers on the street corner: widespread and with abandon. I’ve got approximately seven things I could feel stressed about at any given time.

And on top of the daily stressors, life sometimes throws a real stress whammy our way.

Society’s focus on weaknesses tricks us into believing we can buffer our stress by fixing things we’re bad at. However, this isn’t always the case.

In fact, positive psychology has found that focusing on our strengths can significantly build our well being against stress.

By finding your strengths, you can build your psychological immune system.

Just as a healthy physical immune system protects you from getting sick, a healthy psychological immune system can protect you from mental illness and stress.

For example, let’s say one of Ama’s strengths is her love of learning. If she can incorporate learning into her life, she’s going to achieve a greater sense of fulfillment each day.

She can make decisions based on her strengths and improve her performance by doing what she does (and enjoys) best.

When adverse events in life do come for her, she’ll have the resilience and emotional strength to get through them.

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6. Enhance your close relationships

Finding your strengths will not only benefit your personal well-being, but it also will enhance your close relationships.

Firstly, all of the benefits already discussed (improved performance, greater confidence, buffered from stress) will set you up for success in a relationship by allowing you to be a more aware, happier person.

I mean, who wouldn’t rather hang with a self-assured, driven person than a confused, stammering soul with little to offer?

(Sidenote: if you feel like a confused, stammering soul with little to offer, that’s okay. We’ve all been there (and go back there regularly). You made it to this blog, which means you want to and can change.)

The thing is, you have a lot to offer; you might just not realize what that is.

Secondly, if you are self-aware of your own strengths, you can bring your strengths into the relationship in a way that will build it.

My boyfriend and I spent the first year of our relationship dance battling over our respective weaknesses and strengths (see, I told you I liked to dance). This not only caused us tension, but it didn’t serve us in any way.

When we became more aware of our strengths (and more vulnerable to share our weaknesses), we could bring forth our strengths in a way that benefited the relationship.

I stepped up with planning for both of us, and he took on a more significant role in prioritizing balance and family in our lives.

Finding your strengths

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7. Encourage you to grow more

When we think of growing, our minds immediately go to our weaknesses: how can we improve our shortcomings?

While this isn’t a wrong thought to have, it is significantly limiting our growth. We should focus on improving our strengths, as well.

Can you imagine if Payton Manning was like, “I’m really good at throwing the football, but I’m not so great at kicking. I should practice at the kicker position instead of the quarterback.” Not only would this be silly, but my fantasy football team would be in for a big surprise.

This example may seem exaggerated, but it’s not that far off from what we do in our everyday lives.

We continually take for granted our strengths in our growth.

I even fell into this trap when launching this blog. Since I knew I was a decent writer, I put a great deal of time toward a weakness: coding and building a website. As a result, I neglected the thing that I had a strong foundation with (writing) and didn’t work to improve it.

I’m not saying that you should never try to improve your weaknesses. In many situations, we need to develop our skills to a certain level of competency.

However, we should find our strengths and then put effort into improving what we already have a knack for.

In the end, this will help us grow even more.

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8. Boost your happiness and life fulfillment

Happiness and life fulfillment are big, abstract concepts that are difficult to define, let alone achieve.

However, finding your strengths will give you a headstart on that journey.

For all the reasons listed above, knowing your strengths offers you a series of benefits. You can redesign your life around your strengths in a way that will make you more productive and more confident. You can break negative emotional patterns.

This growth can apply to both your professional and personal life.

Furthermore, finding your strengths will give you a sense of direction in your life. It will also provide a roadmap for how to follow that direction. You can move away from feeling lost or insignificant because you do have something to offer.

Your strengths will also help you achieve your goals, ultimately boosting your life fulfillment.

Finding your strengths

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Finding your Strengths

Want to reap the benefits of knowing your strengths? Click to the next post to read Four Ways you Can Discover your Strengths.

You possess a series of strengths, whether you know them or not. Everyone does. By bringing them into the light, you can drastically improve your life.

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Conclusion

A strength is more than just something you’re good at. It is a quality that shows itself across the board in a person’s thoughts, behaviors, feelings, and actions.

It is not a one-time, one-situation thing. Instead, it should apply across a broad range of situations and environments.

You must like your strengths. To be considered a real strength, it must help you do good, feel good, and bring good to others.

There are many reasons why it’s essential to know your strengths, including:

  1. Give you a sense of direction
  2. Improve your performance
  3. Help you achieve your goals
  4. Build your self-confidence
  5. Enhance your close relationships
  6. Buffer you from stress
  7. Encourage you to grow more
  8. Generate a sense of happiness and fulfillment

Do you want to know your own strengths? Do you want to bring them into your life with the flair and pizazz of a Greek god, or maybe with the quiet confidence of a Russain spy (or perhaps with the regular version of an ordinary person)?

You’ve done the work. You’ve read this post and tapped into your motivation. Now, don’t miss out on the opportunity to finish the task and discover your strengths.

In the meantime, choose a question to answer and post a comment below.

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FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONS

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Comment below with answers, ideas, and more questions, or contact me to collaborate on a future post!

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EXPLORING YOURSELF

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What is one of your strengths and how did it develop?

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Which of the 8 benefits do you think will have the biggest impact on your life?

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When you think about self-improvement, where does your mind usually go?

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EXPANDING YOUR WORLD

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How can humans increase motivation?

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How do you strengthen your psychological immune system?

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What role does growth play in life happiness?

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