One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper pattern at the right moment. ~Hart Crane
In a perfect world, we would be able to write to our hearts content. We wouldn’t have to worry about pesky little things like jobs, bills, and other responsibilities. Sigh…wouldn’t that be just grand?
The world spends a lifetime teaching us how to improve our weaknesses. Be a better manager, be more organized, be more assertive, be better at time management etc. Even disguised as positive statements, the underlying idea is that you are lacking at something. From the moment we’re born to the moment we die, we spend far more time on what we can’t do rather than improving our areas of strength. That’s sad and unproductive. This is why we love/relate to underdog stories. To borrow the analogy used in the book Strengths Finder 2.0, let’s take a look at Rudy. He was a man who, against all odds, overcame his lack of natural talent and abilities to play for 30 seconds in a Notre Dame football game and made a tackle. This is a great story, but it demonstrates that “Overcoming deficits is an essential part of the fabric of our culture”. We celebrate overcoming impossible odds and make these folks instant heroes.
Countless examples of how society focuses on weaknesses instead of strengths abound in this book. I’m a parent. How many times have I seen my child’s report card and said, “Wow, good job on making that A, but let’s talk about that B in this class. How can we improve that grade?” Unfortunately, that scenario has happened a lot. (I hang my head in shame.) What if we had a tool that showed us our core talents? What if it then showed us how to apply those strengths and gave us ideas for action? Pretty wonderful, no?
My husband came home from work the other day so excited about something he and his partners discovered. He found a wonderful book called Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath and made me read the first two chapters before I could cook dinner. I couldn’t imagine what was so great about another self help book that showed me all the work I needed to do on myself. I already know that I’m a procrastinator, an introvert at heart, a day dreamer, and have no interest in balancing check books! I was so wrong.
A man named Donald Clifton Ph.D., the Father of Strengths-Based Psychology, created the Clifton StrengthsFinder. Mr. Rath has taken the original test and added a few extra ingredients. The book has some amazing information in it plus you receive a code located in the book that allows you to take the StrengthsFinder test. By the end of the weekend, my whole family had read the chapters and taken the test. I discovered some talents that I had only been vaguely aware of in my life. My top five strongest talents are: Achiever, Communication, Individualization, Analytical, and Connectedness. Who knew?
I’m now going to take this knowledge and apply it. Some of this I’ve done intuitively, but other things came as a surprise. For instance, my tests showed that I have strong analytical skills. I almost fell over. I would never have put myself in that category, yet when presented with the idea that I had to be responsible for marketing-which I stink at- I quickly came up with some sound ideas that no one else in my writing chapter had created. Now that I’m aware of this strength, I won’t be so quick to dismiss my musings.
Bottom line, discover your strengths and play to them. Place your energies in making yourself better with what’s already inside you. This sounds so deceptively easy, yet it is incredibly difficult when presented with societal norms. I guarantee that if you focus your energies on using what gifts you have rather than always trying to cultivate what doesn’t come naturally, your job, work and other responsibilities will improve! This, of course, leads to better writing time