Part 2 | Strengths and Alchemy

February 24, 2016

5 Ideas, 3 Questions, and an Action

Five Ideas

There is a magic that is easy to ignore when we walk into a room, flip a switch, and find it suddenly filled with light.

And, if we didn’t know better, we might think that the switch itself is what created the light, when really the switch is only one piece of a complex chain reaction lighting the bulb.

One in which a natural resource is located, brought out of the earth and processed, transported, sold, stored, burned, converted from heat into electricity (also magic :), channeled through wires over distances, and directed into our homes at the appropriate current through smaller wires in the walls connected to the bulb.

To think that the switch is the cause of the light in this case is like when a dog looks at your finger while you point instead of the thing you’re pointing at. The important piece of the equation gets missed.

And that important piece is that we are all interconnected; our combined efforts matter; what we do matters; and how we treat each other matters, too. If we think any other way, we risk treating people like light switches, believing that they alone are the causes of things—good and bad—when really we are perpetually paying forward the realities that together we are illuminating.

Three Questions

What scale can I adopt or invent that would give me an accurate reading of my greatness?

Is it ever okay to compare myself against others?  Are there exceptions?

If I could be any dinosaur, which one would I be and why?

An Action

Desired Result: Practice Paying It Forward

Concrete Action: This is an easy but powerful experiment.  It has three four parts and does not take long.  Its purpose is to take action to literally create a moment of joy in the world and to document that creation.

Step One: Write down in a few words what your current mood is.  Just be general.

Step Two: Close your eyes and think of the nicest compliment that anyone has ever given you.  Hold that feeling.

Step Three: Think of someone in your life who is struggling or facing a major life-challenge.

Step Four: Send them the warmest and most genuine message of love, support, or encouragement that you can think of—text, email, phone, or ESP.

Step Five: Write down in a few words what your current mood is.  Just be general.

Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.

Circle Photo

Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world. He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Strengths Consultant.

Connect with him:


Twitter: @zstrengthslife

Facebook: Zachary Carlsen

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