Strengths and What’s Underneath

TinyBigLifeEDITJanuary 13, 2016

4 Minute Read

(350 Words)

A French scientist by the name of Pascal Cotte recently developed a technology that he believes has revealed the true identity of the Mona Lisa once and for all.

Interestingly, it isn’t by looking at the painting that he forms his conclusions, instead it’s by looking inside of it.

His device uses a multispectral camera to detect and analyze each layer of paint on a canvas, some of which are thinner than 1/1000th of an inch.

It works like this: blinding light is projected onto the surface and then its reflections are measured—this is called L.A.M. or Layer Amplification Method.

When applied to DaVinci’s masterpiece, this process revealed three other separate and complete portraits under the final version of the Mona Lisa.

Some believe them to be sketches that the artist used to think-out his final composition. Others think that it’s all hype and some sort of hoax.

Either way, the idea of an inner-Layer Amplification Method seems appealing…as, living from our strengths might do just that.

This is to say that spending time thinking about our best self has the potential to reveal layers of our personality that lie under the surface.

And, the more we think about a thing, the more likely we are to find it.

That is, if we consider each strength as a “layer,” then the more time we spend focusing on it, the more its qualities are amplified, brought to the surface, and made visible.

Importantly, it’s likely that we’ve all been told at some point that one of our strengths is a “weakness”. Perhaps, if we were told this often enough, we began to believe it. And, in doing so, we added a false layer to cover it up.

Overtime, we create lots and lots of layers—some productive, others not—and our daily devotion to a strengths life is an invitation to dig down and re-discover qualities and gifts that may have been quieted, even silenced, long ago.

When we do this, we can often feel valuable parts of ourselves waking up.

We may not even recognize them any more, but the strengths give us a language to name them and, in some cases, re-name them for what they are: our greatness!

Three Questions

Why is the Mona Lisa so famous in the first place?

Does it matter that there is a painting underneath the final product?

What are some of my many layers—how would I describe them?

5 Minute Action

Have you ever tried drawing your own portrait…with your eyes closed?

It’s easy and (usually) pretty funny—it’s also surprisingly good for relieving stress.

Grab a pen and a piece of paper. Close your eyes and go.

Really commit to not opening them until you are finished. (Fight the impulse to peek!)

When you are done, take a look at what you’ve created. There are often interesting characteristics revealed about how we see and perceive ourselves (even with our eyes closed). For example, do you totally forget to include a body part—an eye, a nose, hair? Or, did you exaggerate one specific part of your face? Did you draw yourself with a smile or a frown or without teeth?

What can our portraits say about how we see and feel about our lives?

Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.

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