Build on Your Strengths

Building upon strengths appears to be more beneficial, and makes people happier,  than trying to correct weaknesses. That’s the conclusion Jonathan Haidt presents in his book, “The Happiness Hypothesis.”

For some reason we tend to focus attention on the parts of us that aren’t working very well. Then we devote a lot of effort to correcting what’s wrong.

The problem with this way of thinking is that we’ve stacked the odds against ourselves before we even begin.   We concentrate on our faults instead of our talents and skills. Trying to fix the worst parts of ourselves requires extra energy and focus to go against our habits and tendencies. Perhaps it can be done, but it’s hard.

Haidt suggests we look at self improvement in terms of what we’re already good at. Instead of spending so much effort on fixing what’s broken, spend it to develop mastery where we’re already proficient.

We’re always going to be better at doing certain activities than others. It seems a waste to put all that energy into the weak areas, where the best we can hope for is a bit of improvement, instead of the strong areas where we have the best change to excel and find great satisfaction.  Keep this in mind next December when you make those New Year’s Resolutions.

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