What are strengths?

Do you focus a lot on trying to fix your personality flaws? Find out about personality strengths and turn your attention to making the most of the best parts of yourself instead. Everyone has strengths and using those strengths to your advantage is a really important part of becoming happier.

Building ‘strengths’ means:

  • Focussing on the best parts of you
  • Not worrying about your flaws and weaknesses
  • Using your best qualities more often
man playing cello

What are strengths?

‘Strengths’ are the best parts of your personality. A good way to understand what this means exactly is to think about your friends. Why do you like them? Is it because they’re:

  • Hilarious
  • Fun
  • Kind
  • Creative
  • Passionate
  • Enthusiastic

These great parts of your friends’ personalities are a few examples of different strengths.

We’re not talking about talents, like being a fast runner or a great guitar player (or whatever your thing is). Talents are things you do, and are good at, but they aren’t part of your personality. They don’t count as strengths.

The reason strengths are so important is that everybody is at their best and happiest when they are using the best parts of themselves, or their individual strengths.

Everyone has twenty four strengths

Researchers have identified twenty four different personality strengths, which everyone in the world has. While these strengths are part of everyone’s personality to a degree, different strengths will be more dominant than others in different people. These are known as ‘top’ strengths.

Check out the Happiness Institute's list of the twenty four different personality strengths.

Why would I focus on my strengths?

If you figure out what your most dominant (or top) strengths are, and try and find ways to use them more it can help to improve your physical health and happiness. They can also increase your:
  • Motivation
  • Capabilities
  • Energy
  • Ability to tackle challenges
  • Confidence
  • Resilience
It’s pretty normal to take the opposite approach and try and work on fixing the flaws, weaknesses and problems in your personality. There’s nothing wrong with this, but when you spend too much time working on your weaknesses, it can be really uninspiring, and a bit of a downer. You end up only focusing on half the picture of your abilities – the things you aren’t so great with.

On the flip side of that, concentrating on the good things about yourself makes you feel good. Why wouldn’t you want to spend more of your time amplifying the best parts of yourself?

What can I do now?

  • Grab a notebook and start listing your strengths. Remember, everyone has plenty and no-one is strong at everything.
  • If struggling, get the ball rolling by listing the strengths of your friends and family.
  • Learn more about working out your strengths.
Last reviewed: 13 August, 2015
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