May 2, 2016 – Exiting the game

I’ve always been a fan superhero stories. Not so much the traditional radioactive spider bites and secretly born on another planet ones, though. I’m more interested in the stories where people are typical, but they’re good at something. And they know it. They’re good at something and they work to develop it until they’re pretty stinkin great at it. And they keep working at it.

I’m more interested in stories where people are typical, but they’re good at something. They have an interest that is strong enough to draw them from the normal everyday distractions that keep people complacent. They take their interest and their talent and they work them and mold them and develop themselves into experts. Into leaders of their field. Into people that are  looked to for answers, for help, for inspiration. I especially love when there’s group of these people, each with their own specialty. I love when people are allowed to be different, unique, themselves and that expectation is the key to everything working out  in the end.

I’m not sure that happens so often in the real world.

It seems in the real world we’re more focused on being like everyone else. On fitting in, on getting the right products, right brands, doing the right things. And by right, of course, we mean the ones that other people trust and like. We want to be the same as them.

Everyday we’re exposed to about 350 advertisements. We actually pay attention to about 150 of those. 150 messages telling us telling us why what we’ve currently got going on isn’t good enough. Why we need something new and different. How that will make us better. More like the cool kids.

Our culture is a little obsessed with cool kids. Whether it’s the literal cool group at our kids’ school, the celebrities we admire, the successful business leaders. We’re all about wanting to be like other people.

We figure we have to change ourselves to be like them. Ask anyone to tell you their weaknesses and they’ll rattle off five or ten without even having to pause to think. Ask someone what they’re strengths are and the answers come much more slowly, often with qualifications and explanations of why they have permission to claim this thing.

We’re focused on what’s wrong with us. How we can be better. More like the cool kids.

We compare.

But you know what? Those stories I love – the ones where everyone does their thing really well? It doesn’t work when they’re comparing themselves to each other and trying to be more like the others. It works when everyone knows who they are, what they’re good at, and they kick ass at it.

I think that’s the main reason I love StrengthsFinder right now. It’s the best tool I’ve found to find out what you’re good at. It seems like we should already know what we’re good at, but we don’t. We know what we’re bad at. We don’t even recognize the “good at” things as actual things. We don’t realize that not everyone does that thing.

The report that StrengthsFinder gives you is the first step toward knowing your areas of greatest potential so you can grow toward kick assery status.

Did you know that studies have shown that people grow the most in their areas of strength?

It seems like it should be the opposite – that we can grow the most where we’re the weakest. I think we figure that if we’re deficient in an area, if we work hard enough we’ll be able to improve the most. We think that if we’re at a 2 compared to our friend’s 8, we will be growing the most if we can improve. Our friend is already there. They don’t have much room to grow.  Here’s the flaw in that logic. There is no ceiling. Your friend isn’t limited to 8. If they put in the same effort you do, while your 2 goes to an 8, their 8 goes to a 32.

Catch up is silly, pointless game to play. Especially with ourselves, with our personalities. The smarter, wiser option – focus on areas of our own potential. Grow them. Quit looking for the cool kids to be like.



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