From the moment we enter life and start towards our goal of world domination, we are bombarded with all sorts of advice on how to become the best version of ourselves. This normally means that we must critically analyse every aspect of our personality, capabilities and thinking patterns. Then our goal is to find out what we’re not good at and craft together a strategy to fix these ‘weaknesses’. Sound familiar…
In recent years psychologists and researchers have focused the spotlight on this fixation with ‘weaknesses’ and realised what many of us already knew, it just doesn’t work. In fact, this fixation has in many cases shown to have a dramatic effect on our mental state and the way we view the world.
Whilst working at University of Nebraska–Lincoln in the 1950’s, Donald O. Clifton recognised that people often worked better when they were able to focus on their strengths, rather than their weaknesses. His research into the field of Strengths Based Psychology culminated in the publishing of the book ‘Now, Discover Your Strengths’ (2001). During this research Clifton and his colleagues at Gallup interviewed over 1.7 million professionals from varying fields and identified 34 distinct patterns that best describe human uniqueness. These 34 ‘talent themes’, now form the basis of the Clifton Strengths Finder®.
The 34 strengths developed by Donald Clifton offer a different perspective on personal development. Rather than focusing all your energy on what you can’t do, why not explore how you can use your strengths to become the person you set out to become?
Toastmasters has been doing this for 94 years.
At every club meeting, area and district, Toastmasters get the opportunity to explore not only what they could have done better, but what their strengths were. In Pathways, speeches and leadership roles, feedback is provided to help members become more self-aware. It’s not just about what you could do differently next time, it’s about becoming aware of what others see as your strengths and then finding way to use them more often.
If we are aiming for world domination, let’s start by exploring our own strengths and how they can help to get there.
Source: Clifton Strengths