You Have 24 Strength Capacities to Use


    Your 24 strengths are “capacities” within you. This means you have the capability to use each one of them. There is always potential within you for expression of your strengths. You use all 24 to some degree each week, and some strengths are used as often as every hour, although you may not be aware of it. Consider the curiosity you use when you’re surfing the web, the self-regulation required for your morning routine of brushing your teeth and getting dressed, your prudence in driving carefully to work. These are examples of strengths use to a very small degree. A larger dose of strengths use occurs when you exert creativity in proposing a new work project to your boss, social intelligence when you listen empathically to your brother’s struggles, fairness when you stick up for someone being teased, and spirituality when you sit down to meditate despite urges to skip your practice. Your character strengths capacities, valued throughout time and history, are all within you. Assessing Strengths Use When it comes to working with your character strengths, awareness and understanding are beneficial and will take you far—giving you increased well-being. But it is action with your character strengths that matters most. As the influential writer Goethe said, “Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.” Using your character strengths offers you that extra boost. So why not use those parts of yourself that are most energizing, easy to use, and most authentic to who you are?
    Using your character strengths more in your daily life generates further awareness of yourself and the many situations in which you can apply your strengths. Consider the “virtuous circle” shown below in which one positive leads to another in a potentially ongoing cycle of positivity and goodness.
    As you become more aware of your strengths, explore them through reflection, and glean insights about them, it is natural to want to begin taking action in different ways. This is what happened to Cecilia, a middle-aged banker, who said this after identifying her character strengths and reflecting on them: It feels as though I have doors within myself that are opening up. There are these areas of myself that I had closed off, like my hope, my creativity, and my leadership. I wasn’t giving them any attention. And yet these are important parts of myself. I am ready to get back to me. I need to keep these strength doors open! The next step for Cecilia is to widen her signature strengths use. How about you? Let’s take a closer look at how regularly you are using your signature strengths. Signature Strengths Use Test For the exercise below, there are no right or wrong answers, no specific score to achieve. Instead, use the questions as a tool for self-insight and exploration and for gauging your improvement with strengths use.
    Start by listing your signature strengths. This will help you keep them at the top of your mind as you answer each question. List five to seven of your top strengths:Next, use the following scale to answer these questions about your signature strengths: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Strongly Disagree Moderately Disagree Slightly Disagree Neither Agree nor Disagree Slightly Agree Moderately Agree Strongly Agree I use my signature strengths regularly each day. I come up with a wide range of ways to use my signature strengths. I use my signature strengths to manage stress. Life challenges are not as difficult for me because I use my signature strengths. I use my signature strengths regularly in my personal and close relationships. I find ways to use my signature strengths to help or support others. I often use my signature strengths to help me be productive in my work. I use several of my signature strengths at work each day. I am happiest when I am using my signature strengths in my life. When I use my signature strengths, I feel I am expressing my best self. Total score for signature strengths use REFLECTION Examine your responses more closely. What strikes you most? What is interesting or surprising? Do you notice any patterns in your responses? All high, midrange, or low scores? One or two questions on which you scored lower? One area (stress questions or relationship questions) in which you scored high? Make note of anything you would like to explore further, even if it’s just targeting one of the questions. For example, you might wish to focus more on how much you use your signature strengths at work. How Are You Already Using Your Character Strengths? It is easy to overlook your character strengths use. It can be subtle. We can quickly take each of the 24 strengths for granted. However, they are always there, waiting just below the surface of your attention, ready to be expressed (Niemiec 2014). This is especially evident in our daily routines, which are ripe with potential to learn about our strengths. Take Kara, for instance, who realized it was her strength of curiosity that was driving her to check what her friends were saying and doing on Facebook. And she loved going on Instagram as well, because she could express her creativity and her appreciation of beauty in all the photos posted there. Or Jalen, who took note that he used his self-regulation while brushing his teeth for exactly two minutes each morning and his prudence while carefully choosing a healthy and balanced breakfast each day in light of his recent diabetes diagnosis. Fill in the table below to reflect on ten routine activities you probably do every day or most days during a typical week. See if you can detect one or more of the character strengths you are using during the activity, even if the use is subtle (as modeled in the first example given). Routine Activity Character Strength(s) Used How You Use the Strength(s) Washing your hair Prudence; curiosity I’m careful to thoroughly wash each layer of hair. I’m interested and curious about the scent of the shampoo and also about how many hair follicles I have on my head! Rising to your alarm clock Brushing your teeth Driving to work Making your lunch E-mailing a coworker or friend Posting something to social media Talking with a family member Eating a snack Reading a book, magazine, or online article Walking around your neighborhood Other activity: We use our strengths in so many ways, big and small. They are easy to take for granted, easy to overlook, and easy to discount in ourselves and in others. Realizing the fact that our strengths are already all around us is empowering. Look a little closer, and you’ll see them. Unleash your potential! Use a Signature Strength in a New Way Let’s take your strengths use one step further, which science tells us is especially beneficial. Randomized controlled studies show that there is an activity that is particularly good at bolstering happiness and lowering depression: using one of your signature strengths in a new way each day (Gander et al. 2013; Seligman et al. 2005). The activity is straightforward. Choose one of your highest signature strengths. Then, each day for the next week, use the strength in a novel way, no matter how small. Someone choosing social intelligence might strike up a conversation with someone new on one day and then talk about their emotions with a loved one the next day. Someone choosing curiosity might try a new food one day and ask a colleague a new question the next day. Make this activity part of your regular strengths practice by downloading this blank worksheet Here’s another spin on the same type of exercise. Instead of taking one signature strength and using it in a new way each day of the week, take your top seven strengths and apply each one differently on each day of the week. For example, on Monday, I might use my love strength in a new way by spending some extra time to thoughtfully and genuinely listen to a work colleague. On Tuesday, I could use my creativity in a new way by writing a poem; and on Wednesday, I can use my spirituality strength to try out meditation. If you prefer this approach, use the following grid:Using our strengths in new ways can be a fun, challenging, and highly rewarding adventure that increases happiness and well-being. Learn. Practice. SHARE. In this chapter, you’ve learned about the different types of character strengths you have. You’ve explored your signature strengths, happiness strengths, lower strengths, and phasic strengths, then began to look at your strength use levels. Your practice involved moving from exploration of signature strengths to using them more in your life, especially in new and different ways. Before moving on from this chapter, consider this: What is most important for you to share with others right now? Share an insight, practice, or goal with one person. You might share with a friend the concept of phasic strengths and why this is important. You might use one of your signature strengths in a way that helps a loved one. Or you might post one of your responses to any of the questions in this chapter and explain why on social media. Explore your “share” below and note with whom you will connect:
    Wadifa Club
    writer and blogger, founder of Dog food planet .

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