August 24, 2015
Only by being who we truly are can we actually become who we are meant to be. The strengths provide a fuel and a starting place for life’s big questions.
Who am I? What am I doing here? What is my purpose? Where am I heading? What is the meaning of life? If we are alive, we have asked ourselves some or all of these questions. It is natural.
More than that, it is worth considering what circumstances give rise to these questions. It certainly isn’t during moments of timeless joy and inner-peace that we ask them. Who among us has been at the amusement park, or cooking a relaxing meal, or giving a motivational speech—the whole time asking, “What am I doing here? What is the point of all this?”
Probably not. When we are enjoying life—however we define that—we are in the zone and life’s inherent meaning is present and abundant.
However, when we find ourselves outside of a life that produces that assurance—be it job-wise, relationship-wise, socially, spiritually—we begin asking these questions. Because, after a certain length of time, something just feels off.
Our strengths tell us who we are.
Through the strengths, we learn to appreciate differences and change in our lives without feeling less-than or off-balance. We learn to embrace them not just tolerate them. We seek knowledge in every experience of how we can best grow from whatever comes our way. And, we start looking for excuses to be and to show others our true selves, instead of shrinking and yessing and playing chameleon. And, why?
Because only by being sincere can we ask life’s biggest questions. Meaning, if we are trying to be someone else in the present, how are we to become who we are really supposed to be in the future? It doesn’t matter how solid the house is, if the foundation is pretend.
The strengths take much of the guessing out of our quest for life’s purpose—and purposes. They give us concrete places to look for meaning and insight into ourselves and others.
It’s like the story of the woman who sees her friend searching the grass below a streetlamp. “My keys, I can’t find my keys,” he cries. “Well, where did you drop them,” she asks. “I lost them way over there,” he says pointing into the distance, “but the light is so much better here.”
When we are not living as our true selves, we are likely investing in things other than our strengths. And when we give more attention to those pursuits than we do to our strengths, we are pouring our time, energy, and resources into becoming someone else. Like the man in the story, we are looking for something where it cannot be found.
This is not to say that we should rest on our laurels. No way! Instead, it’s to affirm the fact that we evolve most in our strengths and in doing so we become fuller and more genuine expressions of who we already are.
Only when we are reaching from a true place can we get the truest answers. We could likely cobble together bits and pieces of life’s meaning by focusing on our perceived “weaknesses”. Though, it’s unlikely that such an approach will give us the gumption needed to ask life’s biggest questions.
And, only when we are asking the big questions do we get the big answers.
So, on a Monday…
Who are we? What are we doing here? What is our purpose? Where are we heading? What is the meaning of life?
Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.