Strengths are built-in capacities for certain thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Everyone has these capacities to one degree or another. Your particular pattern of strengths is part of what makes you unique.
When you play from your strengths, you are likely to feel more energetic and perform better than when you are trying to use a capacity that comes less naturally. For example, one person trying to influence a local school board to ban soft drink sales might have the strength to speak up forcefully and clearly at a general meeting (despite the almost-universal fear of public speaking). Another person strong in team-building might feel uncomfortable speaking out in a meeting but could successfully build consensus among parents, nutritionists, and others to weigh the issue and come to a decision.
Leveraging your strengths can help you accomplish many goals. Making your strengths work for you, especially when the task at hand is well-aligned with your personal values, can leave you feeling more competent and connected.
For more on drawing on your strengths and finding the positive meaning in your life, buy Positive Psychology, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.