Strengths and Instinct

August 26, 2015

Our strengths function like instincts tuned to our life’s path. The more we trust their messages, the easier we move about in the world.

It’s a beautiful sunny day and we are sitting on a bench in a busy park when suddenly—without thinking—we glance over our shoulder and catch someone eyeing us. Boom! We turn, and like a magnet, we lock eyes. (Let’s say, for the sake of creepiness, that we know this person and they are a friend.)  How did we know that they were there?

It’s likely that this has happened to us all. Sometimes it can be chalked up to peripheral vision, but not always. So, what’s up with that? Really, how is it that we can tell when someone is looking at us?

Scientists and psychologists have teamed up to term what is called “gaze detection”. And, while they are not exactly sure how, they have found within the brain that specific cells fire when we are being stared at, even from behind, by someone else. Those same cells, by the way, stay quiet when that other person is not looking directly at us…even if only an inch above our heads.

The theory is that it is an evolutionary measure designed to alert us that there is someone there and/or that something is about to happen.

Our strengths function in this way. They are like radars scanning our lives past and present, constantly finding and refining the data of our lives, bringing it to the surface and to our attention.

As we work consciously with them and develop our awareness of their presence, we grow in our confidence that they are always at the ready. And, if they are always on in this way, they are constantly communicating information to us. Someone with discipline doesn’t consciously activate that strength when it feels right. No, the strength is always on, looking for ways to be expressed in the world. That can be said for every strength—from achiever to woo.

And, like instinctively glancing over at our friend in the park, we generally move into our strengths without any pre-thought. Our strengths, in a sense, are us at our core operational level.

That said, not only do they promote the best versions of ourselves, they function as detectors as well, which signal us to action and/or potential action in our vicinity. It’s easy to see that those strong in harmony, adaptability, competition, and empathy are constantly reading the environment and taking the temperature of the room. So, what about intellection, developer, positivity, and focus? How might they serve as key parts of our radars—guiding us, signaling us, and sending up reports?

Our instincts keep us on a sound footing.

How have our instincts served us recently? What type of “gaze detection” is present in our strengths? What qualities and characteristics of life, both inner and outer, do they alert us to?

Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.

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