Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Talents #3: The StrengthsFinder Test

I figure it's time I continue with my comments about Buckingham & Clifton's Now, Discover Your Strengths, first mentioned December 5th, and last mentioned December 7th.


The book offers a free "StrengthsFinder" test supposed to "reveal your five strongest themes of talent" (p. 32) or "find where you have the greatest potential for a strength" (p. 78).

I took it a couple of weeks ago. You'll notice I haven't said anything about the test or its results.

Why not? Well . . .

Out of the 34 "themes of talent" StrengthsFinder deals with--Achiever, Activator, Adaptability, Analytical, Arranger, Belief, Command, Communication, Competition, Connectedness, Context, Deliberative, Developer, Discipline, Empathy, Fairness, Focus, Futuristic, Harmony, Ideation, Inclusiveness, Individualization, Input, Intellection, Learner, Maximizer, Positivity, Relator, Responsibility, Restorative, Self-Assurance, Significance, Strategic, and "Woo" ("Winning Others Over") * --my five themes were these:

Ideation: People strong in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas. They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.

Input: People strong in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information.

Learner: People strong in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.

Responsibility: People strong in the Responsibility theme take psychological ownership of what they say they will do. They are committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty.

Intellection: People strong in the Intellection theme are characterized by their intellectual activity. They are introspective and appreciate intellectual discussions.

I thought (and still think): "Oh. Great. --What am I supposed to do with this?"

Though I am sure these themes are correct, I don't think I learned a whole lot by having the test tell me these are my top strengths or talents. In fact, it depresses me a bit. Because I don't see how it will help me find where I want or need to go in the future.

Although, now that I think of it, maybe I should pay closer attention. What am I--or what am I not--doing right now? And how is that (what I am and am not doing) impacting me?

I look at four of the five themes--Ideation, Input, Learner and Intellection--and I think: "(Duh!) Scholarship. --Doing the work of a scholar."

And what have I--or have I not--been doing in the last year or more? One thing I have not been engaged in to any significant degree is . . . scholarship.

I've been involved in business, in marketing (which I love). But I have not been involved in the idea side of things so much. I haven't been discovering things, learning things that bring (what I consider) a nice shock to the system. And that has made for a rather "dull boy."

I think back to how Sarita and I used to walk and talk for hours. Or, rather, I used to talk for hours. I'm afraid she mostly listened. (She's a good listener. I mean no slight by that.) She'd let me babble--or not. (And what I mean by that is that I'm sure, sometimes, my talking was little more than the ravings of a lunatic. But other times, I'm sure, I was saying some things that were very profound.)

So I was happy, satisfied, when I was learning new things, discovering new things about my world, about history, . . . about the subjects listed at the top of this blog: "History, Religion, Epistemology and Communication with a little Politics, Economics and Legal Theory thrown in for good measure."

I have enjoyed--and still enjoy, and probably always will enjoy--learning about marketing. After all, marketing is a form of communication. And I love to think and theorize and learn about all forms of communication. And I am delighted to see that--and when--my ideas and theories actually work, in practice. (I.e., so I am delighted to have my ideas and theories applied.)


I sense I need something more. I'm not sure just what right at the moment. (Is it more "Intellection" and "Ideation"? More diversity of subject matter? . . . More . . . ?) I don't know. But I think I need to find out.

Sarita and I, it seems, haven't had a whole lot to talk about recently. And I feel like I'm dying inside. Shriveling up. (Is that where some of my fear of declining mental powers might be coming from-- . . . why I am experiencing some of the symptoms that lead to my fear? I don't know. But I'd like to find out.)

* The authors comment: "You will notice that the theme names are not all the same 'type.' Some refer to the person (e.g., Achiever, Activator). Some refer to the category (e.g., Discipline, Empathy). Others refer to the quality (e.g., Adaptability, Analytical). We chose this approach because attempts to standardize the type yielded increasingly clumsy and unfamiliar terms" (footnote, p. 81).
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