Strengths and Avoiding the Comparison Trap

September 25, 2015

When we allow our strengths to work together we uncover the unique value of our wholeness. 

Consider the complexity of the human body and its systems.  Imagine every organ performing its special function and notice how each one does what it is designed to do.  Like gears in a watch, each part both supports and relies on the next, and together life is maintained in the body.  It wouldn’t matter if there were twenty healthy livers, if the body lacked lungs—or vice versa.  Each individual piece plays a role that is absolutely essential to the whole.

That said, wouldn’t it be strange if the heart grew jealous of the pancreas for being able to produce insulin—or if the kidneys became distracted and envious of the stomach for its capacity to digest food?

The absurdity of this might not be all that different from when we compare ourselves to others and feel less-than as a result.  The strengths tell us that there is only one thing worth focusing on: strengths.  Achiever is no better or worse than context or positivity or input.  Just as the lungs aren’t better than the gallbladder or the esophagus or the brain.

Einstein said it best: Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

In that way, a person with, say, ideation is likely to feel frustrated if they measure their worth by how capable they are of executing specific, concrete tasks.  After all, how can we fault an orange for not tasting like an apple?

Living in our strengths does not mean being good at everything.  Nor does it mean being able to do what someone else can do.  Instead, it means knowing who we are and taking action to become more and more of that.  We develop most in our strengths.  Period.

In addition to that, developing a strengths perspective means being able to see greatness in others and appreciating it—even praising it—as opposed to feeling threatened or less-than by it.

What does our greatness look like in the mirror?  Who can we begin to honor as opposed to envy?  What would it take to grow more aware of the unique value we bring into the world—gratitude list, conversations, vision statements, deep breathing?

Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.

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