The father of the Positive Psychology movement, Martin Seligman, talks about character strengths as opposed to pathologies. He even designed a classification system similar to the famous DSM (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) but simply focusing on those personality traits that make you function best.
Why do that? Simply put, we are more than just the sum of our parts. We have many talents and strengths going for us and we may achieve success in our lives if we use them well. Please understand that success is relative for each person, it’s not just professional and financial success, but it can also be personal, related to family or your community. Would you say that someone who is known for its volunteer work in the neighbor’s kitchen soup is not successful at that? Or that a single mom that keeps the family going is not successful? You don’t have to invent the wheel again to be successful in your daily life. Or even acknowledged for it.
But do we know our own talents?
What are best at? Are you a great communicator, are you a leader, and are you well-organized? If you can’t answer this question yourself just yet, ask your friends and family what they believe to be your strengths and talents. If their answers are inconclusive, you can try to do Dr. Seligman’s questionnaire at https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/ and find out what are your character and signature strengths.
And if your self-esteem is low and think you don’t have any talents, think again. Everyone has a hidden talent, it just needs to be unlocked and nurtured, to achieve its highest potential. Like stated earlier, it doesn’t have to be a life changing talent like discovering penicillin, it just needs to be something you’re good at and makes you feel proud of.
Make your talents and strengths work in your favor
Once you’ve learned what you’re good at, you can starting putting your character strengths and talents working for you. And what’s that going to do for you? First, a little self-knowledge has never hurt anyone. And secondly, you can truly start to find meaning and satisfaction in your life by putting your talents to good use and being successful at it.
Most frustrations come from not accomplishing one’s true potential, by feeling like you’re fading into background and not doing anything of worth with your life. You can change that and feel like the main character in your life, if you know how to put your talents and strengths to good work. You may not love your job but you can have a hobby that fulfills your life and gives it meaning. Like coaching a little league or getting involved in social charity events.
So, true happiness lies in there. When we’re becoming the best version of ourselves by using our strengths and talents in the right way. But first you must figure out what talents are those and then how to put them to good use. And you’re on the right track to true happiness.
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lindseykone/5362917664.jpg