Step 5 of Practice


STEP 5: CONTINUE TO PRACTICE ALL FOUR STEPS

 

There is a circular nature to this work. As you develop your Top 10 Strengths, you will circle back to the Basic Process--Steps 1 and 2--to gather more evidence, more examples of your Strengths creating Positive Moments in your life. You will naturally make choices in how you spend your time that place emphasis on using your strengths, and you will experience more Positive Moments. 

At first, most of your Positive Moments will be identified in moments of reflection. As time goes by, you will identify Positive Moments at the time they are happening. At first this will happen because you are experiencing a Positive Moment that is similar to one you have already identified. Later it will be because you have become more familiar with the physical sensations associated with positivity, like noticing that you are smiling. One of the best outcomes of this practice is being more aware of what you are thinking and feeling in the present. Being aware of the present creates more opportunities to act out of Strength, which creates more Positive Moments. 

Being aware of Positive Moments and Articulating Strengths deepens our connection to our Positive Identity, as defined by our Top 10 Strengths. This can be very useful in times of stress, such as deep loss or disappointment. At times when it is painful to focus on the present, we can review our Top 10  Strengths, add to the elaborations, and allow actions to arise from this stability, instead of coming from reactive negativity. 

When we lose a part of our Positve Identity, such as losing a primary relationship, the practice is there to aid us. We notice when our mood lifts, articulate new strengths, create new priorities, and revise our Top 10. This process constantly recreates a focus on our best moments, the best within us, and our best options for moving forward, even when times are tough. These positive feedback loops eventually become clear enough that we can choose to turn our attention away from negativity at will. 

In addition to creating this positivity feedback loop through continued practice, each step in the process has its own evolution. 

Step 1. As you continue to focus on Positive Moments and articulate Positive Feelings:

·      you will be less aware of negative emotions.

·      you will notice delightful nuances in your Positive Feelings, and name them more accurately.

·      you will become more aware of how you feel in each moment. Awareness of the present moment has been called many things, including enlightenment, nirvana, mindfulness, and even the purpose of human existence.

 

Step 2. As you continue to articulate Subjective Strengths:

·      seeing your role in creating Positive Moments comes more easily.

·      you see many Strengths where you previously saw one. For example, being a “people person” might evolve into Strengths of compassion, connection, and service.

·      you develop something psychologists call an “internal locus of control,” the opposite of being a victim of circumstances. You feel empowered.

·      the feedback loop between Strengths and Positive Feelings results in more and more Positive Moments.

 

Step 3. As you continue to prioritize your strengths:

·      you will become resilient, realizing that your priorities  and strengths change along with your changing circumstances. You will bounce back quickly from life changes such as the loss of a job or a significant relationship.

·      you may discover umbrella strengths, such as realizing that acceptance of others, comfort with changing circumstances, and the ability to handle stress are all part of an umbrella strength, your good mental health.

·      you will become more aware of your values, and your actions will increasingly be values-driven, leading to fewer painful internal conflicts, such as those that arise when we are driven by habits or peer-pressure, and act in discord with our values.

 

Step 4. As you continue to elaborate your Top 10 Strengths:

·      you will gain clarity about your Strengths, and be able to support your articulation of your Strengths with specific, increasingly meaningful examples.

·      you will gain confidence in yourself.

·      you will be able to share your strengths with others, such as in a job interview.

·      you will increasingly see others in terms of their strengths instead of their weaknesses, and your relationships will improve.


When you are learning this process, it is useful to work step by step. Once the process is well known and internalized, you are likely to see it as an organic whole through which your attention flows. You might gravitate toward noticing Positive Moments for a few weeks, then spend a few days revising your Top 10. Trust yourself to know which area of focus is right for you at any time. Keep coming back to the process to get the best results.

 

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