January 11, 2016
5 Minute Read
The strengths are not about self-help, they are about self-awareness.
By developing a strengths mindset—one where we focus on what we do best and become better at it—we put ourselves on the path of self-discovery. In doing so, we see how present our strengths really are in our lives on both conscious and unconscious levels.
On a conscious level, we can observe our strengths manifesting in our actions. A person with a lot of woo, for example, can be seen mingling and charming those around them; likewise, we take note of the developers in our lives as they help us strategize toward success or resolve.
That said, on an unconscious level, we can observe that our emotional state and wellbeing can be in direct relationship to how much and how often we find ourselves in the strengths zone. Experiencing frustration, feelings of lack, and anxiety can all be unconscious reactions to lives in which we are constantly repressing our best selves—be it at work, in relationships, or elsewhere.
So, living in our strengths is not about learning something new and then practicing it. No. Instead, living a strengths life is about developing an awareness of what is already there, and acting in it with a greater intention and consciousness.
Plato believed that we were each born knowing everything there is to know…only, we don’t realize it. This idea is called Platonic epistemology.
In this theory, all learning becomes a form of recollection and all of life becomes a long form of remembering.
Our teachers along the way just help us recognize what we already know. The better the teacher, the more they put us in touch with what was always inside of us.
For this reason, our life’s greatest teachers are not always found in the classroom.
Add to all this that the root of our word education comes from the Latin word educare, which means “to lead out of”, and it’s beginning to look like personal growth is more about developing awareness than it is about anything external.
What is the single most important discovery I have made in my life?
What are three skills I would like to develop in the next 365 days?
What is standing between me and my dream life?
5 Minute Action
Make a list of all the things that you do not know. Let your mind wander and play for five minutes.
Remember there is no “right” or “wrong” way to do these exercises. Allow your strengths to guide you in your questioning and your list-making—someone who is very analytical is likely to navigate toward different unknowns than someone who is active in ideation. It’s all good!
Sometimes examining what isn’t is just as revealing as examining what is. That is, by looking at what we do not know, we are likely to discover something new, important, and possibly essential.
Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.