Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dozens of Personal Strengths

Since I began writing for this blog, I've written hundreds of articles, all about something called "personal strength." In a previous post, I shared my definition of personal strength:

Behavior patterns that involve doing hard things to deal with the challenges of life.

How many personal strengths are there? In my previous post I said, "many - dozens."

Well, what are they? I've focused my research, thinking and writing on dozens of specific, discrete personal strengths. The "Top 40" have to do with being outstanding in the workplace and in your personal life. These are the strengths of all success-oriented people, peak performers, high contributors, personal leaders, and team leaders:

Self-confidence, Accountability, Composure, Responsibility, Effort, Loyalty, Self-development, Excellence, Thoroughness, Flexibility, Integrity, Commitment, Honesty, Rationality, Cooperation, Initiative, Focus, Optimism, Perseverance, and Self-Discipline, Courage, Awareness, Self-esteem, Decisiveness, Fairness, Service, Patience, Vision, Gratitude, Creativity, Intuition, Acceptance, Leadership, Tolerance, Open-mindedness, Passion, Compassion, Proactivity, Self-awareness, and Trust.

If you want to be successful, whether at work or in your personal life, sooner or later you'll be challenged to exercise all 40 strengths. And of course there are more than 40. I've been researching and gathering material for 8 more:

Humility, Humor, Faith, Spirituality, Autonomy, Forgiveness, Generosity and Friendship.

Last week a good friend of mine, one of the wisest people I know, asked me, "What about resilience?" Yes! Resilience. I've always thought of resilience as the combination of optimism, perseverance and composure. But hey, why not? It's OK with me if resilience is the 49th unique strength. And there are probably more.

The important thing is that we consciously make the most of our top strengths. And we can try to improve in areas we know we need to work on.  We can become a better version of the good and effective people we already are - stronger to do the hard things to deal with the everyday challenges of life and work.

I have more to say about how you do this kind of personal strength-building...


Sean said...

This reminds me of some ideas I have been kicking around in my head for decades. Call them keys to success or whatever...

Happiness - when people ask me what is the point of life, or what is the most important thing in life, I always tell them, "to be happy". If you are happy, everything else is decoration.

Tenacity - I've found you can master almost anything if you try it a hundred times. So many things in life just take a lot of effort. This echoes "perserverance". Never give up, just keep banging at a problem and it'll have to give way to a solution sooner or later.

Innovation - experience new things, do new things, learn new things. When you fail to have new things in your life, you start to die.

Control - gain control on things in your life and you will be a happier person. This takes effort, focus, determination.

Hope - this is also necessary. One has to have goals, and the goals have to be achievable things you can strive for. Without hope, things lead to despair, so there has to be hope.

I've always felt there were a couple more I've yet to discover. But your list of 40+ certainly gives me a lot to think about.

Unknown said...

I REALLY like your list. Most are closely related to the personal strengths that I mention.

Happiness - Awareness, Gratitude and Optimism - but in truth happiness comes from exercising ALL the strengths, creating the satisfactions that cause feelings of happiness. Attitude is important, too.

Tenacity - Perseverance
Innovation - Creativity
Control - Focus and Self-discipline
Hope - Faith and Optimism

Yes, if you do those things that you mention as a matter of habit, I would think it would make a HUGE difference in your life.

Michael K said...

Reminds me of Ben Franklin list in his autobigraphy. He would spend time each day checking his actions against his list and recording where he succeeded and failed. Helpful post. Thanks