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How to Find Your Strengths

Check out these activities to better understand your unique strengths.

Key points

  • Leveraging personal strengths is linked to an increase in happiness, research suggests.
  • You can identify your strengths by asking questions about your leadership, competence, social skills, calmness, playfulness, and persistence.
  • Knowing your strengths can increase self-awareness, help you like yourself more, and boost your happiness.
Photo by Vicky Sim on Unsplash
Source: Photo by Vicky Sim on Unsplash

Strengths can include knowledge, personality traits, skills, and talents. When we know our strengths, we can more easily see how we are different from others and how others see us. To start finding your strengths, consider asking yourself some of the following questions.

  • Do you have any degrees or certificates?
  • Do you speak any languages?​
  • ​Have you taken any courses?
  • What skills do you have?
  • What are you good at?
  • What are the best parts of your personality?

Strength Finding Quiz

Want to know more about your strengths? Here are a few more questions to ask yourself to see which specific strengths you have. The higher your score, the more of this strength you have.

Leadership: I take charge.

Strongly disagree Strongly agree

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Competence: I come up with good solutions.

Strongly disagree Strongly agree

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Social Skills: I make friends easily.

Strongly disagree Strongly agree

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Calmness: I am relaxed most of the time.

Strongly disagree Strongly agree

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Playfulness: I have a lot of fun.

Strongly disagree Strongly agree

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Persistence: I don't quit a task before it's finished.

Strongly disagree Strongly agree

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

*These questions were drawn from research at ipip.ori.org.

Why It’s Good to Know Your Strengths

1. It can increase self-awareness

By spending some time thinking about your strengths and weaknesses, you might get to know new things about yourself.

2. It can help you like yourself more

Self-reflecting about our strengths can help us focus more on the positive aspects of ourselves (Proyer, Gander, Wellenzohn, & Ruch, 2015).

3. It can help you boost happiness

One study showed that when people used a personal strength each day for one week, they showed an increase in happiness. That increase in happiness persisted six months later (Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005).

Strength Finding Exercises

1. Imagine your best possible self

Take a moment now to imagine the best possible version of yourself in the future (Sheldon & Lyubomirsky, 2006). Try to be as specific as possible. Ask yourself, who would you be? What would be your strengths and how would you be using them? Where would you be? What would you be doing?

2. Reflect on your strengths

Once you know some of your strengths, reflect on how these strengths affect your life. What are the positive impacts of these strengths on your life? And how do your strengths benefit others? Think through what it actually means to have these strengths.

3. Build your strengths

It’s not a bad idea to work on our weaknesses, but we can also work on our strengths to turn them into “super strengths.” So think about how you could get even better at one of your strengths. Might you practice using your strength more often? Might you seek out feedback from others on how to improve this strength? Or, might you use this strength in new situations?

This post also appears on The Berkeley Well-Being Institute.

References

Proyer, R. T., Gander, F., Wellenzohn, S., & Ruch, W. (2015). Strengths-based positive psychology interventions: A randomized placebo-controlled online trial on long-term effects for a signature strengths-vs. a lesser strengths-intervention. Frontiers in psychology, 6, 456.

Seligman, M. E., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist, 60(5), 410-421.

Sheldon, K. M., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2006). How to increase and sustain positive emotion: The effects of expressing gratitude and visualizing best possible selves. Journal of Positive Psychology, 1(2), 73-82.

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