Strengths: Your Inner “GPS”

Strengths Blue

Strengths are also called virtues and values because of their fundamental importance.

They are your ways of “being” who you really are.

These superhighways of neuropathways are unique to you and they are the only ones that you can travel and be who you really are. Your values, as your strengths, are who you are.

Get off the highway and some voice within you, first of all your feelings, will start to give you messages that you need to change your direction, make a turn, take the next exit and go back, just as surely as the GPS system in your car won’t give up until you’re on your chosen route.

The greater your alignment, your consistency and your focus is on your strengths, the more in alignment with your Real Self you are going to feel.

You will feel more in sync, more in control, more in harmony, more like you are “in your own skin”.

It is when we play to our weaknesses that we begin to feel “out of sync”, disconnected, out of alignment, anxious, frustrated, and in a state of discord.

The more you use your strengths, that are also your basic values and virtues, the happier you will be.

Your strengths are in fact the GPS of your life if you know them and allow yourself to use them.

Restless, listless, out-of-sync, unsettled and out of your own skin; these are the word that describe us when we are not playing to our strengths. They are the things we experience when we are playing to our weaknesses.

We you know your strengths (because they have been scientifically tested) it’s easier to play to your strengths so long as you stay in an UpSpiral.

In a DownSpiral or when we are down spiraling, we will not play to our strengths, but rather to their opposites, which are our weaknesses or our character defects.

The opposites of our strengths are wonderful things because they warn us by feeling restless, listless, out-of-sync, unsettled, bored, irritable, and frustrated.

The more we play to our weaknesses, the worse these things get

It is amazing that we think so little about using our strengths when we are DownSpiraling. They are just not in our focus. That’s because the DownSpiral is characterized most by narrowing, but it starts by questioning and doubting yourself.

Go down a negative path with a particular negative thought, and it’s very much like going from a “1” or a “2” to a “10”.

From doubting just a little, in a few short minutes, you doubt where you live, where you work, who you love, and why you’re doing anything you’re doing. That’s a bit of an exaggeration but you can identify.

Then there comes the sense that things are beginning to get on top of you –that there is just too much to deal with. That is followed by the sense that you can’t make sense out of things –they just don’t seem to fit together in one way or another.

The DownSpiral shuts you off from your repertoire of strengths, options and abilities, it shuts you off from faith, it shuts you off from doing the very things that keep you in an UpSpiral and gets you to question whether they work or not.

When, in fact, if you were doing the things that worked to stay in an UpSpiral, you wouldn’t be headed into a DownSpiral.

Your strengths are one of your best guides to recognizing and deepening the UpSpiral of your life.

© Dr. William K. Larkin 

About the author

Dr. William K. Larkin
  • Shuhan Yang, PHR CPCC CCMC

    Our strengths are the GPS of our lives. When we recognize, use and grow our strengths, we are aligned with who we really are. On the contrary, when we are not playing to our strengths, we are not in-sync and out of alignment. Our emotions send us the signal as to if we are playing to our strengths or weaknesswa — the former feels positive and alive whereas the latter feels “off”. Strengths and UpSpiral are interconnected and are two important ingredients of living a fully lived life. When we live in UpSpiral, it’s easy for us to recognize and play to our strengths. When we are deliberately playing to our strengths, we lean in living an UpSpiral life.

    Our job as a NeuroPositive coach is to educate and help our clients recognize and grow their strengths, set vision and goals and live life in UpSpiral. Unlike therapist or counselor, coaches do not focus on healing or fixing the issues as they believe clients are starting from here, and beginning to live a fully fulfilled life.

  • Dr. gloria wright

    It’s interesting to think of using our strengths and values as our GPS. I think of it as a
    magnet. There seems to be some pull within me to keep me on track. For me it’s
    about is it in alignment with who I am and does it support my happiness? I find
    I focus more and more toward living life with ease as my compass. When I can be
    in flow, it’s as if I’m connected to Jung’s collective unconscious – or as I call it, being cosmic.
    Living life out of my strengths also makes me aware of how I need and want a team. I love
    it in relationships when we lovingly share our strengths to support each other.
    Gardeners seem to be drawn to sharing plants, sage advice, etc. I love genuinely
    generous people. They make it safe for me to be generous.
    And what we have on our minds and in our feelings, fed our brain neuropathways. I want to
    feed them in a positive way.
    I thought this quote was informative and something of a warning: “The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows: Altschmerz n. weariness with the same old issues that you’ve always
    had—the same boring flaws and anxieties you’ve been gnawing on for years, which
    leaves them soggy and tasteless and inert, with nothing interesting left to think about, nothing left to do but spit them out and wander off to the backyard, ready to dig up some fresher pain you might have buried long ago.”
    Wonder if we could go to our gardens and dig up our old joys instead? I’d rather be in the habit of digging up treasures! It’s a choice.

  • Deborah Logan

    I do find my strengths are my inner guidance system. Although on occasion have also connected with the doubting which rolls into questioning – how did I get here and what is happening? When that occurs I look at the life situation and pool my thoughts back into what’s right with the world – a bigger picture; then hone in on the center – my higher self. Flying into a rampage of gratitude also lifts my mind into feeling good rather than ruminating on what isn’t. Knowing it is safe for me to be powerful and that I have all the power of the Universe flowing through me and supporting me keeps me aligned with my strengths.

  • Michelle Carl Rizal

    What if we used our strengths more as part of our daily lives? Meaning, what if we truly believed and embodied the knowledge and focus on our strengths, played with it more, and used these as our personal “lens” in thinking critically and analytically in dealing with life?

    This is so challenging because, as a society, we haven’t learned to look at our strengths from this perspective. We’ve learned to take care of our weaknesses and to keep on improving them. As a society, we also often glorify and put the spotlight on transformations and having the need to experience many dark moments—before we can achieve greatness (for example, Hollywood stories).

    We now know that are strengths are infinitely malleable and we have unlimited capacity to build and grow them. With focus, intention, and living with mindfulness, we now know that strengths can further grow the genius, happiness, and “living to our fullest potential” in all of us. The question is…what choice are you going to make and what steps are you going to take to make this happen?

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute