You'll Eventually Discover Your Strengths

23 August, 2020
There's a turning point in everyone's lives in which destiny puts you to the test and you discover your strengths. From that moment on, it doesn't matter if you're running against the wind, you'll go on despite any fear and difficulties you might have.
 

Writer Dorothy Parker used to say that those who get bored in peaceful times do so because they haven’t been through a stormy season. Somehow, a part of oneself always surfaces during difficult times. In those days when life gets you off balance and puts you to the test. It’s precisely at this stage of your complex existential journey when you discover your strengths.

Until then, one can only improvise. Now, this topic is as interesting as it is revealing. A few years ago, American analytics and advisory company, Gallup, wanted to probe what kind of strengths were the most common among the population. To do so, they developed a survey that allowed people to evaluate themselves.

Later, psychologists Nick Epley and David Dunning pointed out something relevant to this topic. Many people are inexperienced judges of their worth. Some magnify their qualities, while some underestimate them. The best way to know your own strengths is to flip the mirror and see what others are saying.

Another way to do this is to test yourself. Sooner or later, there comes a moment when your true worth and your greatest strengths emerge.

“No matter what kind of challenges or difficulties or painful situations you go through in your life, we all have something deep within us that we can reach down and find the inner strength to get through them.”

-Alana Stewart-

A person on a cliff.
 

The day in which you discover your strengths will eventually arrive

Martin Seligman and Chris Peterson published a book titled Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification in 2004.

This work was an antithesis of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and basically sought to highlight the talents, skills, and values each person harbors within.

This is because this book always aroused certain criticism from the scientific community. Defining kindness, generosity, or joy as strength was, for many, a matter of moral virtues and not about ​​psychological skills.

Perhaps for this reason doctors Laura King and Louis Trent from the University of California contributed a new approach in 2014 in which to put aside the “virtues” to talk about the “strengths of the human personality”.

This approach intended to find those values ​​that allow humans to better adapt to life’s changes. It’s that emotional psychological tissue that mediates well-being, better decision-making, and even your ability to reach your full potential.

When you discover your strengths, you can handle both good and difficult times well

There are times when unforeseen events happen: the loss of a job, an emotional breakdown, etc. These events put you to the test, immobilize you, and, of course, they hurt. However, you discover your strengths when you overcome them.

You find strengths in you that you didn’t know you had. You learned to manage your emotions, deal with pain, nurture hope, and even feel motivated once again.

 

All these lessons are inside you and offer you a greater perspective. That’s when you start to move better, both in good and hard times. You do it because you’re clear about your purpose. In other words, you know what you want and your personal compass is properly calibrated.

A woman listening to music during quarantine.

Everyone has strengths that can flourish

Many people spend years in their comfort zone. Within the kind of stability where everything is under control; in which everything is so predictable that you take it for granted. Then, all of a sudden, the first crack emerges, and, shortly after, ​​your safe area crumbles and collapses. Thus, you deal with it, react, and realize you’re strong.

When you discover your strengths, you become aware that you’re more resilient than you thought. Also, you’re more creative, hopeful, and proactive.

However, even though a situational or experiential demand sometimes makes you react appropriately, it doesn’t mean it’ll happen again. In other words, you may have acted well in the face of a mistake you made at work or in the face of that problem experienced in your romantic relationship today.

 

However, it’s possible that your reaction won’t be the best in the face of another complicated situation. So what does this mean? It means that you must ensure your strengths continue to flourish when you finally discover them.

This is because the more you use them, the more they’ll grow and you’ll be able to apply them to many more areas of your life. If you’re good at solving an incident at work, then you should apply that reaction capacity to other scenarios of your daily life.

The three components of strengths: feel, think, and act

You change your reality when you discover your strengths. However, three forces must be aligned for this to happen. In other words, there must be three exceptional processes that can guide you towards achievement, towards advancing in overcoming your fears, and coping with hardship. It’s about emotion, thought, and action.

Every strength begins with an emotion, the kind that invites you to overcome yourself, to cross that bridge in which fears remain below and hopes are in front of you. Strength is also ensuring that motivation and self-confidence nourish your thoughts. Only then can you act without fear and insecurity. Thus, trust the self-improvement engine inside you a little more.

 
  • King, L. A., & Trent, J. (2013). Personality strengths. In H. Tennen, J. Suls, & I. B. Weiner (Eds.), Handbook of psychology: Personality and social psychology (p. 197–222). John Wiley & Sons Inc.