Strengths and Happiness...is there a connection?

How about we start by watching this video. It is all about perspective; how we approach each day, how we look at things, how we think about them--perspective is about choices.

Now here’s another exercise to show just how powerful perspective is: stand up, point your index finger straight up to the ceiling, start to make clockwise direction circles with your finger, continue making those circles as you bring your finger down by your eyes, then by your shoulders and finally down by your waist. Which direction is your finger circling now? It’s all about perspective, like making circles, and depending on your viewpoint, the result can be much different.

Have you ever watched someone that is so gifted and so talented that when they do their thing you stand back in awe and wonder? They play an instrument flawlessly and effortlessly. They are able to run fast forever without fatiguing. They deliver an amazing presentation without note cards. They know how to say just the right words at the right time with the right tone. We refer to this as being “in the zone”. Usually, our first thought is, “I could never do that,” and you may be correct. But his teaches us to honor the fact that we are unique and different. Basically, being “in the zone” is when a person is using their strengths.

Studies show that regardless of our age, our brains have the ability to grow, change, and adapt. This does not happen without putting in some effort. The higher/harder the challenge and the less we are skilled (specifically with strengths) can cause us to feel anxiety. On the flipside, if the challenge is too low and our skills are too high we feel bored. Finding that right balance of new challenge combined with our current skills produces the most growth. I challenged you last week to take a strengths assessment. If you took the assessment, congrats! Do you agree with your Top 5 strengths? What are ways that you currently incorporate those strengths? What can you do to use them in the future?

Remember, strengths are naturally recurring patterns of thoughts, feelings, or behavior that can be productively applied. One of the simplest ways to increase your happiness is to be yourself, but to be yourself you need to know yourself. Your strengths are a great start to knowing yourself.

Now it’s time to productively apply your strengths. This week’s challenge is to actively reflect on each of your strengths. Each day, on a sticky note, a journal, a napkin or whatever is closest, write a word, a sentence or short paragraph on how you applied one of your strengths. This will take intention and effort, but to grow, you must be willing to work. Place your word, sentence, or paragraph in a visible place. Take it one step further, be bold, share it with a trusted friend/coach/spouse. Tom Landry may have said it best, “A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, who has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you always known you could be.”

Your beliefs become your thoughts,

Your thoughts become your words,

Your words become your actions,

Your actions become your habits,

Your habits become your values,

Your values become your destiny.

- Mahatma Gandhi