Strengths and inner gifts! This is what we are discussing in this episode of the “Think Zing!” series.
“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
– Mother Theresa
It’s possible you don’t know what you are really good at. You may even be in a job or in business for yourself. However, you may not really be operating from your own most dominant strengths. That is because you and I grew up mostly being concerned with improving our perceived flaws. Not developing our strengths. Meaning what we are naturally good at.
Let’s imagine you…
… while being little, in the process of growing up.
Let’s say you are about 6, 7 years old. In this story, you are a regular healthy child. You are naturally curious. You can spend hours watching bugs. Or a falling leaf in autumn. Rain and rivers. Or ants moving in long lines. Also pictures, images, texts, etc.! In other words, you are great at observing anything. Also, you like to figure out for yourself how things work!
Now, in the family you grow up, nobody acknowledges this fact about you. They have observed your curiosity and even clarity in thinking, somewhat. However, they don’t consider this to be a talent. I mean a useful, practical money-making talent in your future!
Anyway, you are little.
And, they are still optimists about you. They may think:
“There must be some talents in this kid!”
To spice up this scenario, let’s say that sometimes they may even be challenged by your clarity in seeing things as they are. For example, just like my daughters, you, too, in our little scenario here are very honest and sincere about the people around you.
“Mr. X smells ugly! The doctor has rotten teeth and looks like a balloon! Mrs.X leaves drools on my cheeks when she kisses me and she smells ugly, too. I don’t want old people to kiss me anymore!”
Your parents and caregivers encouraged you to tell the truth. However, not always. To spice up this scenario, even more, let’s say that you are in primary school. Your teachers also failed to notice your easiness in observing stuff as they are. Strange as it may seem for you since you can watch a bug for 40 minutes without blinking, your teachers are telling your parents, that:
You cannot concentrate and focus!
What they really mean is that you hate memorizing stuff. It is meaningless for you. Also, they don’t admit they are clueless regarding how to make stuff that appears to be of no interest to you, be appealing. However, they don’t say that! So, now your poor parents are really worried about you.
Your parents are simple people. They love you and care for you! However, they are also guided by mass held values. For example, the fear of what other people may think and say about them, let’s say is one of their top 3 values. So, they do what most families do. First, they worry! Second, they do their best to influence you to do stuff for your own good!
Nothing wrong with this, but, how do they know what is good for you?
The truth is they don’t know.
To continue with our little story, we’ll assume that your parents are now thinking about sports as being great for your growth. Also, your concentration improvement, too. So, they enroll you in various sports disciplines! This is wonderful! Absolutely beneficial for your body, and muscles development. Wonderful for your brain and for the mind, too.
Now, your parents are happy with themselves. Besides your concentration improvement, they also think that sports could be your ticket to a great abundant financial future. Just as it is for many athletes. Your parents truly wish you well. Now, what about your natural gifts in observing things as they are?
Well, since it doesn’t fall in their range of values…
… your strengths remain unacknowledged!
Considering what you know now about perception, about the internal map of reality, filtering, about beliefs, mental direction and, values, what do you begin to adopt as a value in this story? Since you have to practice every day, after school, and since for about two or three hours you are preoccupied with your practice, you automatically import the “we values”. Meaning it is important for you to keep your parents pleased.
Therefore you do a daily practice of something they want you to do. And, school. You’re a kid, you do it anyway, even if you don’t really enjoy it!
Why is it important, then?
Because your caregivers want you to do it. And, because your personal daily schedule is arranged around school and practice. Also, you are only 7 years old. You do what you are told to do.
Because your old brain detects danger if you don’t do what your parents say you should do. So, you create an internal map of reality, around what they value, not what you value. You just like to observe stuff and take notice about what is going on. Therefore, you create brain pathways. Brain plasticity. You have multiple intelligence. Genius inside, from birth.
However, you have to ignore it since you have to comply with other’s people values. You must take them in, for your own emotional and physical safety. Your inborn strengths will have to wait, 30+ years in some cases.
What happens deep inside you?
The seeds of future inner conflicts and conflicts with other people, such as your parents, begin to germinate and grow. Why? As I have said, you are only 7 years old, and you have to respect the values that are imposed on you!
Fast-forward 5 years ahead. Now, you are 12 years old, you still practice the sport your parents enrolled you in. You do well enough. However, you are not in the top 3 of your team. No matter how hard you work, there are these 3 other children more gifted than you in this sport.
What do you, now, begin to believe about yourself?
“I’m not good enough. Why can’t I be better?”
You know that you and all the people on Earth have the tendency to generalize everything.
What does this mean?
It means that you will generalize this experience from 12 years old that you have in a certain area of your life to all the other areas of your life.
It means that you, like all the children on Earth was born a genius. However, you got to become mediocre just because you didn’t know any better than listening to grownups, who also didn’t know any better. You have obediently, maybe even fearfully adopted common mass busy-minded-ness. And the values of other people. So, even today, you might be ignoring your strengths and your genius, just because this is how we grow children on Earth.
Like most people on Earth, maybe you, too, have wasted years trying to fix your imagined flaws rather than developing your inborn strength, your genius. With different details, the above story applies to possibly over 90% of all the people from Earth.
Wonderful news, though!
You are now studying the mechanics of deliberate thinking and conscious living. You understand it and already are thinking about the fist actionable steps you are taking now, as you understand this book and its message. Imagine what kind of parent you will be for your children once you awaken to your innate power, to conscious awareness about who and what you truly are!
So, what are strengths, really?
Strengths are a pattern of thinking, feeling and acting. Whenever you are using strengths, it produces high satisfaction, happiness, bliss, and pride. Every time you are engaged in your strength, consciously aware of it or not, you are generating mental, emotional and material rewards for yourself. And other people, too.
The rewards can be both, a feeling of appreciation and value that you get from other people. Also, financial rewards. For example, whenever you get paid for creating anything that is perceived as valuable for other people while using your strength.
I’ll share with you a real-life example.
Let’s say you have a gift for color, proportion, contrast, etc. You make original combinations of these elements, in your head. Also, on paper. This is one of your inborn talents. While you grew up you went to art school and have studied to be a painter. The school is over and you are officially a painter. You have acquired education and continue to expand it.
Throughout the years you have realized you have an eye for combining all sorts of fabrics, materials, and colors. You make paintings. You paint canvases and walls. Also, you can very easily combine fabrics, clothes, wallpaper, and upholstery. You accumulate experience in using your talent and add to it with every project you make.
You really like what you do.
It is fun! It gives you a feeling of aliveness whenever you are doing it. You also realize that you like to arrange stuff in your house. Also, you freely give advice to others about how to use and live comfortably. Practically. Stylish, in their homes.
Suddenly it occurs to you that you can naturally be an interior designer. Creating and implementing interior ensembles. That, which started as a talent, through education and experience, turned into skills for interior design. You open a little shop in the city you live in and offer consultancy for interior design as well as finite products such as wallpaper, curtains, furniture, etc. As you can see, you have turned your talent into your life supporting, moneymaking, and value creating strength.
More importantly, since you have prepared all your life for it, you have a huge, most likely unique, competitive advantage over your niche market. Forever. You are continuously, and probably endlessly, developing your unique strength!
No matter what your competition does, no matter how many other new shops will open in your city, even on the same street with your own shop, you will always be distinct. And you will always win.
Not even your twin sister can beat you at it.
Why? Because you are living, breathing, thinking and moving from within your strength! Your strength is based on your dominant inborn talent, which you have cultivated by ongoing education. You have accumulated education into an experience. Then, you have refined into skills.
This is a strength. This is how you discover and develop strength.
As you can see, just like everything else you find in nature, it is a process, just like your self-awareness process.
The real-life example I give above it is my wife’s real story!
As you can see, your own strengths are the direct result of the natural talents you were born with. Your talents have been shaped and sharpened through life experiences.
And, the skills you’ve developed throughout time. It all starts with inborn talents, which are those special abilities, gifts as I see them, that you are born with. Then, you start to develop, most likely unaware of the fact, when you are little.
The inborn gifts, talents, take many forms. In the coming episode, we’ll look at Finding Strengths!
Until then, be well.
You can find all the episodes of the “Think Zing!” series hosted at The Zingnificent Show.