Strengths

Celebrate Your Unique Gifts


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Watch “George Meets the Orchestra” (6-min video) as a young Australian boy visits the Sydney Youth Orchestra and learns about a range of orchestra instruments.

Everyone we meet has certain qualities to offer the world — qualities that only they can offer. In some ways, it’s similar to an orchestra, choir, or pop music group, all of which consist of a range of instruments and voices.

Reflect:

  • What would happen to an orchestra if some parts were missing?
  • What if half the instruments were missing?

Everything Has a Purpose

The Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh (often pronounced “Tick-not-han”) writes, “Everything relies on everything else in the cosmos in order to manifest — whether a star, a cloud, a flower, a tree, or you and me.”

Each thing plays its part, like an orchestra. The flower is no less important than the cloud. It all works together.

Discuss:

  • What other systems depend on the individual parts working together to function successfully? (The water cycle, the circle of life, bees and flowers, etc.)
  • How are we collectively like an orchestra?
  • What different strengths do you have? How are those strengths necessary for you to function?

Like the different instruments in an orchestra, we each add something unique and necessary to the groups we belong to.

Paying attention to the ways we are different can give important clues to our personal strengths and abilities — our superpowers. There are many different ways we can use our strengths, including the following examples:

Head (Intellectual)

  • Carefully thinks through difficult puzzles
  • Likes problem-solving activities
  • Explores big concepts

Heart (Emotional, Spiritual)

  • Stays calm when frustrated inside
  • Recognizes and takes care of big feelings
  • Shares, takes turns, compromises

Hands (Physical)

  • Draws and doodles
  • Dances or plays a musical instrument
  • Enjoys playing sports

Explore your strengths and growth edges in the following activity:

  1. Write on a piece of paper the headings: head, heart, and hands.
  2. List the qualities or abilities you have in each area. Examples might include activities, interests, sports, music, personality, or character strengths.
  3. Keep returning to your strengths, and always remember that your unique strengths are important to the world — and so are you.

What some define as weakness, may be a strength.

Watch “Marcos Santos: Painting With Feet” (4-min video) by Embraer that tells the story of Marcos Santos, who can’t make use of his arms, but paints beautiful pictures with his feet.

Note that you can skip to the 30-second mark because the first 30 seconds are filler.

Explore your values:

  • What strengths are valuable to you?
  • What strengths are valued by the people around you?
  • What are the strengths that may be seen by others as a weakness?
  • What did you think Marcos means when he says, “And so, I believe this: difficulties exist only to be overcome.”?

"Real strength has to do with helping others." ​