Your Perfect Set Of Strengths

You will only stay in an UpSpiral of feeling good by using your strengths. Your strengths can take any problem you encounter and give you the skills and answers to work through it, by simply using them.

There is nothing you can encounter that your strengths will not be a match for, bringing you to growth and solutions.

However, it is very easy, especially at first, to forget what your strengths are. In a DownSpiral, your strengths don’t even seem real, if in fact, you can even remember what they are. It is amazing to see a person in a DownSpiral struggle to even name their strengths. And if they do, it is usually reluctantly and disgustedly, as if somehow their strengths don’t work.

There is not a situation in your life that your strengths can’t address. You have a perfect set of them.

If you’ve been through our testing process and you can name your strengths, you are on the path to personal growth.

Instead of concentrating on your weaknesses and trying to change them and getting nowhere, you have learned that by growing your strengths, your weaknesses fall into your ability to manage them effectively.

We have not been conditioned to look to our strengths, but we have been conditioned to remember our weaknesses.

There are even some people who report that they feel guilty when they use their strengths because they were discouraged from doing the things they loved or were good at because it came too easy for them. They were told that they should struggle more. Work didn’t seem like work unless they were doing something that was exhausting, using too much psychic energy, and was an attempt to become good at things that were not their strengths.

Weaknesses are merely the other end of our strengths. In fact, they point to the directions of what our strengths really are.

But from the first red check marks on our school papers, or even before, we have learned what is wrong with us much better than we have learned what is good about us.

Whenever I test a group of people and ask them to write down their strengths, they can usually only list one or two that are actually accurate; they are much better at listing their weaknesses.

Going to a strength, playing to a strength, thinking from a strength is foreign behavior for most people. When we are troubled, stressed and worried or frustrated for very long, it is easy to go to our weaknesses and to play from the opposite end of our strengths. Read the testimonials on our website about people who have learned to play to their strengths.

And then tell us your stories about your encounter with your strengths and how you use them.

You never become a well-balanced or a “whole” person, whatever in the world that might be, by trying to correct your weaknesses.

You become more of who you authentically are by playing to your strengths and letting them guide you to your own inner brilliance.

© Dr. William K. Larkin

About the author

Dr. William K. Larkin
  • Dwayne Paro

    After I took the VIA Strengths test I was not surprised by those in my top 5 as I have had many occasions where these have been brought to my attention by those that I work with or have regular interaction with. I can also absolutely attribute using my strengths to those points where I am highest in my UpSpiral scale and my Emotional scale is on the higher end. When I coach those in transition from the military one of the main topics I cover with them is focusing on what I call their core strengths that they either developed or enhanced while in the military. Due to the training and experiences of being in the military there are many similarities in the strengths that they possess that set them apart from others who have not served. Because these strengths are so natural to them in their daily lives they overlook them as even being strengths. They are more focused on skill translation and resume writing. I encourage them that if they want to write a strong resume or be able to profoundly translate a skill to ensure they focus on their core strengths as they will be able to clearly articulate success and value they can bring to any organization with obvious self confidence.

  • Kathy Lee

    My VIA results were a bit surprising. I am more aware of my strengths now that I’ve taken this assessment. I will be conducting four half day coaching sessions with four clients this week and I plan to begin a line of inquiry around identifying their strengths, applying the most relevant one or two to the challenges they raise as a “lens” through which to see and possible re-frame their challenges. The four R’s is another tool I think will be quite applicable with almost every one of these clients. I am finding that when I’m frustrated if I turn to the four R’s to Re-label, Re-frame, Re-value or Re-attribute, I begin to calm down and start moving forward with a more creative approach to solving life’s difficulties. Both the VIA and the Four R’s have been very helpful concepts that I’m learning to apply to myself and hopefully can introduce to clients this week. We’ll see how it goes!

  • kit

    In recent days, I experienced a transformative opportunity to assess how well my practices in focusing on strengths, and the Emotional Gym exercises, perform under ‘game time’ conditions. Just like practicing basketball drills so these skills are fluent under game stress, are my practices effective in establishing skills that are sustainable under game time operations? I was faced with a drastic life changing event involving a deep betrayal of trust by a loved one. I had been practicing intentional ‘bridging’ of left/right brain to use my critical thinking strength in a new way. When the event happened, my thinking supported me in analyzing the cause. In exactly the way I desired! Amidst the predictable, negative feelings I honored and allowed, an unexpected fount of empathy and compassion flowed from me for the transgressor. My thinking led me to this well! I am in grateful awe at my own resilience and how these tools ‘kicked in’. I am humbled at how the magnitude of this flow feels like an aspect of what I aspire to give to others – a human version of the grace Source gives to me. I thought I knew what forgiving someone feels like in my body. My discovery of this well within me, how forgiveness really feels, and my marveling at it, builds steady state grounding in an emotion I edify and practice. Joy. Forgiveness doesn’t mean we ignore the ‘bad’ stuff, aren’t hurt, etc. It doesn’t mean I’m just sitting here pretending nothing happened. Exactly the opposite. Forgiveness in this context, with the enlisting of my strengths and emotional muscles, ACTIVATES my reasoning and open mindedness in considering an action path. Which yields further feelings of command. Which allows me to simply ride the feelings of sadness, etc. that come, KNOWING this is only a temporary visit in the DownSpiral. The UpSpiral under game time….I am in wonder how I get this experience, now, in this week of the training, on this subject, with the specific conditions of this event. Yup it’s the Universe’s master Programming at work again!

  • Kalah Vaughan

    Hi everyone, I hope everyone is wonderful today. I have been so excited to understand my top strengths. As I have mentioned before I did not even know that my top strengths were considered strengths!

    I have been putting my 2nd strength to use in powerful new ways lately.

    My 2nd strength is:
    Hope, Optimism and Future Mindfulness; “You expect the best in the future, and you work to achieve it. You believe that the future is something that you can control.”

    This was so cool to me, I thought this was just me having grit to be the best version of me. The reason why I am taking this course is to get the framework to finally do my dream job of becoming a personal life coach. I decided to stop procrastinating. So I hired a coach as well as taking this course. The coach is a mentor that is helping me take the steps needed to finally open my business with a tangible product.

    I have been loving and using my strength of hope, optimism, and future mindfulness at its best! I have interviewed my target market to find out their wants and frustrations. I have created position clarity, shift promises and transformations . I am currently working on the model and the system that will get the clients from point A to Point B.

    I am loving it and really feel that I am finally in my flow. Knowing my strengths have been like an anchor for me to say focused on what I know is to be true in me.

    Thank you, I send love to everyone!!

  • Yolanda Smith

    I never viewed humor as a strength. For me, it was a defense mechanism for the majority of my life.

    When I saw that Humor was my number one strength after taking the VIA test, I wasn’t sure what to do with that. I have always been very aware that I do have a strong sense of humor, but that trait has not always been acceptable to those around me.

    My four remaining strength we’re not a surprise to me.  As I read them all, it validated what I already knew were strengths in my life. Also, it inspired me in a way, which increase my desire to become better and stronger in each and every strength.

    I think every person who has breath in their body, needs to take this via strength test. Whitney Houston sing a song called “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength”, which I believe could be easily sung by most people walking this. Knowing these qualities exist in you, has the potential to empower you in a way that you may not have previously thought possible. Unfortunately in this Society, people that you come in contact with on a daily basis or just in passing, have no interest in your strengths or helping you to develop them.

    There is something very powerful about knowing this information for and about yourself. My Grandma used to say “if there is no one around to encourage you, you better learn to encourage yourself”.

    These traits or strength are something that is a part of you snd no one can take yhem away. They may be affected by someone else’s words or deeds, but they can’t take away anything that you don’t allow them to. These traits, I believe, are connected to your very soul and make up Who You Are. Therefore, they have the ability to build you up to become the best version of yourself.

    Know your strengths, become intimately acquainted with them and use them to usher you into your higher calling.

  • Dr. gloria wright

    I remember taking the strength-finding inventories. My strengths resonated true, but I don’t think I could have articulated them. I certainly was not prone to draw on them when I was upset. Being upset threw me into my old obsessive “what’s wrong with me?” victim stance. Yuk! I didn’t like it, but it was certainly familiar.

    I printed off my 10 top strengths (5 from each inventory) and put them on my desk. I had to read them often to keep them in my mind. Somehow it was a wonder to me that I couldn’t easily name them. Certitude has always eluded me. Just printed off my strengths again to savor them for a moment least I forget….

    I fell into my profession by blindly following my strengths. I’d always been fascinated with the workings of relationships. I was a keen observer as a child. I was blessed to have early teachers who encouraged my leadership and strengths. Those teachers and mentors had a major role and supported me through the completion of my PhD. They saw my strengths when I faltered – thank goodness. The field of Psychology was a natural fit for my curious mind and keen interest in people.

    As an adult, I have had to train myself to focus on my strengths, especially when I become uncertain or anxious. It’s like I temporarily (hopefully) become a deer in the head lights. I freeze up. Remembering my strengths seems to work as a lubricant for my motivation and action. My old tapes and conditionings steer me toward my weaknesses, not my strengths. In essences, I’m reprograming my intentions and focus – most of the time.

    At least I know that focusing on my strengths is to my advantage. Remembering it and doing it are more often the norm than not. That’s progress….

  • Yvette Gauff

    Many years ago a pastor suggested I become friends with a woman at my church. At the time I was hesitant; there was ‘something’ about her that seemed a bit artificial. I couldn’t
    put my finger on it, but it bothered me. I trusted this man, so I did as he suggested. I found her to be a very positive person; much more so than most. So, not artificial – just very different than what I was accustomed to. One day when she and I were talking about principles of life and living that she used, she told me her mother had advised her to “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative”. Ok, I thought. That sounds fine, but how easy is that?

    As I was reading the blog, that statement came to mind. I googled it, and found a song by Bing Cosby thatI remembered hearing the minute I saw it, but had LONG forgotten:

    “You’ve got to accentuate the positive
    Eliminate the negative
    Latch on to the affirmative
    Don’t mess with Mister In-Between

    You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum
    Bring gloom down to the minimum…”

    https://www.google.com/search?q=accentuate+the+positive+lyrics&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8
    (Link for entire song)

    Sounds like a strengths and Upspiral focused song, doesn’t it?! Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen, the writers of the song, had some insight into leaning on strengths and focusing on
    positivity. How different our world would be if we were all trained and socialized in that manner.

    As I looked at my own top VIA strengths, I had mixed feelings. I can see how they can help me ‘get along’ in the world on a personal level. Very nice, caring and “others- oriented”, my strengths lend themselves to humanitarian work, i.e., helping others, etc. As a success and goal oriented person, I am wondering however, from a say, practical, business perspective, how they (with the exception of one, ‘Leadership’) can/will help aid me in achieving my goals. I will have to do some soul searching and work to determine how to best use my
    skills to my advantage. Even as I write this, I am thinking that perhaps, because I have been focused otherwise and not on my strengths, a testament of ‘the real me’, my issue lies in not being in touch therein.

    In the blog it states, “You never become a well-balanced or a “whole” person, whatever in the world that might be, by trying to correct your weaknesses”. That said, it is time for a shift. As I look to, and begin to focus on my strengths, I look forward to seeing where they will lead me in this time of transition I find myself.

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute