While people may be greatly motivated to try to fix their weaknesses, research has proven that solely focusing on our deficits often results in wasted energy and undesired outcomes. Contrastingly, studies found that shifting our attention towards developing our positive traits (e.g., kindness, honesty, compassion, creativity, critical thinking, etc.), can be a more effective approach to personal growth. Having a strength-focused mindset not only enhances our personal attributes but also leads to higher life satisfaction.
The UC Berkley initiative Greater Good in Action: Science-based Practices for a Meaningful Life features interventions associated with positive psychology that are linked to an increase in positive feelings, behaviors and thoughts. These activities are designed to help us use one or more strengths in a new way every week as a means to expand and further stimulate our strengths.
Here are the 4 steps you can take to kick-start your strength-focused mindset:
1. List of Your Personal Strengths: Take a moment to think and list your personal attributes. Consider how you can use these strengths each day in a new and different way. For instance, if Perseverance is one of your strengths, you might make a list of tasks you have found challenging recently, then try to tackle each one of these.
2. Plan When and How You Will Use Your Strength: Describe in writing the personal strength you plan to use each day and clearly outline how you will use it. Act on your strength as frequently as possible throughout its assigned day(s).
3. Rinse and Repeat: Repeat steps 1 and 2 every day of the week. You can use the same personal strength across multiple days or try a new attribute each day.
4. Evaluate Your Experience: At the end of the week, write about the personal strength(s) that you focused on during the week and how you used them. Describe in detail the actions you took, how you felt, and what you learned from the experience.
Give this a try! Recognizing and exercising your strengths can make them stronger and can also better equip you to meet life’s challenges.