I found Strengths Finder and its online component very useful. The book introduction outlines an overall philosophy on effort, and then has a chapter covering thirty-four strengths they’ve identified through research. Each chapter gives an overview of the strengths and then offers ideas for action.
You can read the whole book, like I did, or take an online quiz to show which strengths are yours so you can focus on those.
“…people have several times more potential for growth when they invest energy in developing their strengths instead of correcting their deficiencies.”
“The key to human development is building on who you already are.”
“Most successful people start with a dominant talent — and then add skills, knowledge, and practice to the mix. When they do this, the raw talent actually serves as a multiplier.”
Sample text from a strengths chapter:
Sample information: “If you like to travel, it is because each new location offers novel artifacts and facts. These can be acquired and then stored away… who knows when they might become useful?”
Sample action item: “As you gather and absorb information, be aware of the individuals and groups that can most benefit from your knowledge, and be intentional about sharing with them.”
I found the book valuable mostly because some of the best decisions I’ve made have come from following what felt like the path of least resistance. But that can also feel like a cop out, because I have a lot of internal voices saying, “Overcome your weaknesses! Be a better you!” And so forth. The truth is, the you you’ve got is just fine. Work with those raw materials instead of fighting your nature, and you make more progress.
I have a friend who makes hiring decisions based on the philosophies in this book. I’m curious about whether any of you have done it, and whether you found it useful.