stephen akintayoThe best improvement strategy is to focus not just on your strengths; but on just 1 or 2 strengths.
Focus, focus, focus on making your strongest traits even stronger. Especially once you are over 30 and you have more of a clear assessment of your skills and abilities.

The strategy most smart people do is to get better at a lot of things at once. Thus, spreading their improvement time like one might spread peanut butter on toasted Wonder bread. This strategy does help you improve and you will notice the improvements really fast (because you are often focused on things you are bad at where just a little work will go a long way). And that feedback loop of getting a bit better and seeing the progress is addicting (especially to smart people) so they spread the peanut butter even more and get better in more diverse areas. This is improvement and it is growth and it is positive. But, you could grow much greater by focusing on just 1-2 strengths and getting even stronger.
The most successful people in the world (think Bill Clinton and Steve Jobs) have glaring weaknesses and it is unclear if they ever seriously worked on those weaknesses. Would they be better if those weaknesses went away? Of course. But then they might not have focused as much effort on their strengths.
If you are a terrible public speaker but great at communicating by writing, then focus on getting even better at writing. Strive to become the clearest writer in the world. Take really hard concepts and clearly state them. Donate succumb to pressure from your coworkers, friends, etc. to get a speaking coach and spend hours becoming a better public speaker. Focus instead on what you are already naturally talented at go from good to great.
  • Are happier – studies have found they report lower levels of depression, higher levels of vitality, and good mental health.
  • Experience less stress – studies have found they report higher levels of positivity; and in particular the character strengths of Kindness, Social Intelligence, Self-regulation, and Perspective appear to create a buffer against the negative effects of stress and trauma.
  • Feel healthier and have more energy – studies have found that greater endorsement of character strengths is associated with a number of healthy behaviors including leading an active life, pursuing enjoyable activities, and eating well.
  • Feel more satisfied with their lives – studies have found individuals who are satisfied with life are good problems-solvers, show better work performance, tend to be more resistant to stress and experience better physical health.
  • Are more confident – studies have found that both strengths knowledge and strengths-use are significantly associated with self-efficacy, self-esteem, self-acceptance, and self-confidence.
  • Experience faster growth and development – studies have found that positive self-monitoring and strengths building are particularly suited to circumstances when you are learning something new, something difficult, or something perceived as difficult.
  • Are more creative and agile at work – studies have found that the feelings of authenticity, vitality and concentration created by developing strengths help people to better adapt to change, engage in more creative and proactive behaviors, pay more attention to detail, and work harder.
  • Feel more satisfied and experience more meaning in their work – studies have found that people who use four or more of their top character strengths at work are more likely to experience job satisfaction, pleasure, engagement, and meaning in their work.
  • Are more engaged in their work – studies have found that employees who have the opportunity to regularly use their strengths at work each day are up to six times more engaged in what they re doing.

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Originally posted 2016-08-30 15:56:10.

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