Which is it going to be for you?
The power of strengths is the dawning of whole new perspectives in the way that we’re looking at education and personal growth.
The look at strengths inside of you will be the dawning of whole new perspectives. It’s causing whole new perspectives in the way we go about what we’ve called mental health and especially the way in which we’re going about coaching.
One of these perspectives is what we know about the development of “genius.”
We haven’t paid a lot of attention to the growth of genius. Genius comes from encouraging and growing a strength; it never comes from correcting a weakness or from creating a “balanced” person.
We are a culture who loves balanced people, whatever balanced people are, and really all that being a balanced person means. It is what Tom Rath, in his book Vital Friends, calls “rounding,” and it is a way of making gifted people seem “less than” so they are not so threatening.
That means if we’re going to go making you a balanced person, what we’re going to do is look at your weaknesses, and shore up your weaknesses so they’re more in balance with your strengths.
What we teach you to do is just the opposite of that, and that is find your strengths, go with your strengths, and use your strengths to manage the weaknesses, and don’t ever worry about being a “well balanced” person.
Most people are simply ignorant of what their real strengths are.
Part of the reason we’re just beginning to get comfortable with them is because we have a lifetime of being, at least part of the time, in a DownSpiral, and a lifetime of playing to our weaknesses.
We have little or no access to strengths in a DownSpiral, and the deeper down the spiral we go, the lesser is the felt sense of these strengths.
All of us have a lifetime of being told in some way to correct our weaknesses, be a more well-rounded person, be a more balanced person.
We are taught this from the moment we enter the educational system.
The message is: learn to balance your weaknesses, or even obliterate them, so you can be “well rounded” and “balanced.” Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Suppose we decided that in our schools, we’re just going to pay attention to what students really do well first.
That what we’re going to discover and nurture is everything students do really well, not the things they do not do well, so we can compensate for those things and “fix” them.
What if that just happened every day? What if every day was simply another day for you to grasp your strengths and live in them?
What if we gave our kids, partners, spouses, co-workers, everyone in our world, this message: here’s another day for you to use your strengths . . . this is what they are, grow them and develop them. Now go try this and see how you succeed using what you are naturally good at doing.
Yes, we want you to go use and try what you are good at.
That’s very hard to get people to do. It’s a challenge to get people to apply that to their life. But not to do so is one of our greatest threats, both personally and to society at large.
© Dr. William K. Larkin