Making myself available and looking out for new streams of income I’ve revisited Martin Seligman’s “Authentic Happiness” site to redo and check out what my strengths are.
Seligman has pointed out, and I agree from my daily practise, that to lead a happy life we need to use our main strengths regularly. Knowing this I felt confident enough to recently write a short statement on twitter:
Happiness is likely when you do / be something you’re good at & like, follow your intuition & heart, communicate from your soul.
Being, who you are, doing what you’re good at – this is exercising our strengths.
Actually, being good at something is our gift to all the relationships and communities we participate in. Who would have thought we don’t have to be anything other than who we are, and do anything other than what we’re good at to be a blessing to this world! This doesn’t mean that we don’t need to develop or improve, if that is what we feel like doing. But unless we do, or are compelled to by inner pressure, simply being who we are is more than good enough: it’s our gift.
Development and improvement is a natural movement; actually it’s emerging in nature all of the time. Our cats, now 8 months old, impress me recently with the precision and strengths of their jumps which have mightily improved these last few weeks. They love hunting the occasional fly that comes into our appartement and to catch them… this is how they developed, by doing what they love doing.
Recently we have moved from a merely changing world to an emerging-flexflow world; by this I mean that the rate of change has accelerated so much that now ‘novelty’ is continually emerging – unprecedented situations, unreducable complexities, ambiguous multiplicity abounds. It seems that a good way to adapt to this, let’s call it simply ‘complexity’, is with collective and collaborative intelligence. This goes for the economy where we’re seeing the first signs of “Enterprise without Boundary” embedded within “Information Fabrics” and “Collaboration Ecologies”, and it goes for social and political life where we also see first signs of the influence of social networks eclipsing the power of parties in some issues. And of course this is true in the individual’s life where the role of community is rising again out of the ruins of mega-individualism; and what we mean for each other is strengthened immensely.
Our identity used to be a fixed ‘thing’. When I grew up – and I’ve heard someone say this just the other day again – grown-ups where asking children (mainly boys, but in emancipated surrounds also girls), “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
It’s a recent development in Western societies that we start to understand that life-long learning and development is not a choice but a must. But actually, that was yesterday, because now having one fixed identity, being someone, is not really needed anymore. Multiplicity, flexibly being many things to many people is much more helpful and satisfying.
So when I say, being who you are – being who I am – this is what I mean, “It’s as if we come from an era where we thought we were a tree in a wood, and now we see that we are a wood ourselves, part of and meshed into forests upon forests.” Another way to put it would be, trust that you cannot be anything but ‘yourself’, which is being many and diverse…
Back to strengths – which are, if what I said above is right, the strengths of all of you; I’ve taken the “VIA Signature Strengths” test on the above mentioned website again today and found that the following are the ones that “we” have; strengths that I very much love to support the larger community with:
- Appreciation of beauty and excellence
You notice and appreciate beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in all domains of life, from nature to art to mathematics to science to everyday experience.
- Creativity, ingenuity, and originality
Thinking of new ways to do things is a crucial part of who you are. You are never content with doing something the conventional way if a better way is possible.
- Social intelligence
You are aware of the motives and feelings of other people. You know what to do to fit in to different social situations, and you know what to do to put others at ease.
- Curiosity and interest in the world
You are curious about everything. You are always asking questions, and you find all subjects and topics fascinating. You like exploration and discovery.
- Love of learning
You love learning new things, whether in a class or on your own. You have always loved school, reading, and museums-anywhere and everywhere there is an opportunity to learn.