I recently read an article on how to figure out your personal strengths, published by London-based positive social impact organization, 80,000 hours.
These aren’t just related to a career path you’re trying to choose, but they can be useful when trying to understand yourself. Especially during a time where not many things are going on, it has helped me find my self-worth and focus on the ‘good’.
These are 7 key points that I’ve drawn from this article:
1. Strengths can be anything you practice and something you find enjoyable but is broad so it can develop over time. A strength also needs to be stable enough, not something you only do every couple of weeks or months.
2. You don’t have to already be good at something for it to be your strength. Strengths can be developed over time. “This risk is most pressing for younger people, who don’t yet have much data on what they’re good at – making them more likely to guess incorrectly – and have decades ahead of them to develop new strengths.”
3. Negativity bias blinds us to our own strengths, which is why it’s so important to ask others for feedback as a way of identifying a pattern for your ‘strongest’ strengths.
4. Strengths can be broader than skills as they are something less tangible. There are several variables you could take into consideration: your resources, reputation, relationships, abilities, skills, and contexts where you perform best.
5. Focus on strengths that you can keep improving over time, including something that energises and motivates you. Although it may be easy to do well in something you don’t find energizing in school (maybe a subject that you don’t understand or building a relationship isn’t ‘good’ for you), it’s difficult to keep that up for 10+ years.
6. A common mistake often made is focusing on your actual performance, instead, it should be compared with context. For instance, focus on the rate of improvement or how well the performance was compared to other people with similar experiences to yours, rather than the absolute output.
7. Reflect: taking the time out to reflect on your past experiences can allow you to identify patterns. For instance, try dwelling about that time you had to do work, but it didn’t feel like work?
These are just a few points that spoke out to me from the article.