I took a test yesterday. It was a test called the Clifton StrengthsFinder. It is a popular test in business, managerial and entrepreneurial circles. Essentially, it is designed to unearth your strengths so that you can orient your career choice and business strategies around your talents instead of taking the path of most resistance by trying to overcome your weaknesses. Out of 34 themes, you are given a list of your dominant 5 themes and then a personalized guide and action plan according to the results of the test. My 5 strength themes came out as follows:
In short, I’m an enterprising person designed for achievement and the pursuit of excellence. I derive satisfaction from working tirelessly and working productively on self initiated ventures. I achieve success by measuring my progress against the performance of others and revel in contests. I am fascinated by ideas and information. I must understand everything there is to understand. I am innovative and am known for my ability to break down complicated ideas or processes, so they are simple and make sense. I activate others and make things happen (catalyst) by turning thoughts into action. I inspire others and energize them into action and movement on all levels. And I thrive on recognition, fame and accomplishment. I boldly forge towards my goals and destiny even when there is no guarantee of success. I dare to be exceptional.
This testing process got me to thinking about society in general and how negatively focused it is. When people ask me in radio interviews about my intentions for future education reform, I always respond by saying that education needs to be individual student oriented. I usually explain that we should not be wasting time trying to force people to learn what they do not want to learn and we should instead be observing each student for their areas of talent and excellence and capitalizing early on those. In short, children should be specializing from a very young age.
Society is completely backwards right now. It is holding its own progress back because of its addiction to conformity. Society wants everyone to be the same and so, it pours its devotion into setting standards that everyone must meet. Once those standards are set, the shortcomings in its citizens become obvious. In society, we are obsessed with discovering our shortcomings and devoting endless hours to improving ourselves in those areas. But from universal perspective, this is absolutely backwards. It is the path of most resistance. It is to try to get people to become something other than what they naturally are. The idea of triumph over one’s deficits has become a worshipped idea. But is the idea of triumph over one’s shortcomings and areas of weakness a healthy idea? Or is it the perfect culture for self-hate and unhappiness? We had better look closely at this particular question because it has become the premise of most spiritual and self-help modalities.
We are not here to become more rounded by improving our deficits. We are here to become the exalted version of ourselves by enhancing our strengths. We are here to become more of who we naturally are. We should be uncovering, focusing on and capitalizing on our natural talents and strengths. The problem is, most of us have no real idea what our strengths are because we have been spending so much time focusing on and working to improve our weaknesses. We may even feel like it is shamefully narcissistic to even admit to our strengths.
Imagine for a minute the level of harmony, excellence, symbiosis and progression oriented interdependence that would arise within society if we were raised to capitalize on and develop our natural talents. Imagine how much less painful childhood would have been if your family and school and community focused on your abilities instead of your inabilities.
It’s time to come more into alignment with what is truly right about you.