For more than thirty years, I’ve been trying to help people live happier, healthier, more spiritual lives. I’ve worked with thousands directly, and millions more indirectly through books, programs, and workshops. Across all of that, I’ve noticed a fascinating trend float to the top: virtually everyone—and I mean 99.999 percent of people—want to talk about a problem in their life, something they feel is holding them back. They believe that if they can that one thing, everything else will work out. Off the cuff, I’d say they’re correct about 60 percent of the time. But what about the other 40 percent? For these people, the problem isn’t a problem at all. The real problem for these people is a strength, a God-given gift that they are not using as they should.
For about 40 percent of people, using and living out their greatest strength is the key to a happier, healthier life. Many times, these people don’t actually need to address their negative problems at all. Once they start practicing their area of strength, it resolves automatically.
Of course, there are still complications. Of the 40 percent that need to start practicing their strength, about half of them don’t know what that strength is, and the other half just know they aren’t using it, or not the way they should be. In that case, they often feel that something is keeping them from doing it, but they can’t seem to change. So my question today is, are you in that 40 percent? If you are, the problem holding you back may be the exact opposite of what you think: not a weakness, but a strength! Well, if that’s you, you’ll never be able to make it right without knowing what your strength is, which is where I can help.
This is exactly the sort of thing that I developed the X-Factor test for. It’s a free test here on my website, that can help you uncover your greatest strengths (and weaknesses) in sixty seconds, based on your answers to just four questions. You can take it by clicking here. In the meantime, let’s talk a bit about what some of these strengths look like in your life.
I’ve always believed the Beatles had it right, “All you need is love.” A strength in this category means you feel and experience great love: for yourself, for others, and for God. It gives you meaning, purpose, and fulfillment in life. If this is your strength, you’re likely a favorite among all those who know you, because loving people just make us feel good! Really, this is the whole ballgame. If you’re doing well here, then that’s a great blessing, but keep an eye out for other categories that could drag you down, because it all feeds back into this one.
A strength here means that you a faith in your own basic goodness. If you’re strong here, you are probably able to feel pretty good in almost any situation. Pain is still painful, but it doesn’t “throw you off,” so to speak, because it doesn’t disrupt your sense of identity. You likely live your life without many regrets, which is a rare and beautiful thing. There is a bit of danger of feeling superior to others or of becoming complacent, but still a strength here is a great gifting.
Note that I’m talking here about a sense of safety, not whether you’re actually in danger. This is a wonderful gift because without it, it’s very difficult to do well in any other category. Each day becomes a battle just to cope with the things weighing you down. On the other hand, if you’re strong here, it frees you to do great, meaningful things each day! Safety is probably the easiest of these four to take for granted, because you tend not to notice it until it’s gone. If you’re strong here, take notice. Be thankful, and put it to good use.
Success in this sense isn’t measured by money or fame. Strength in this category simply means that you’re doing what you want to do. That’s a great gift! There are few things harder than working every day at a job you hate. On the other hand, I’ve heard it said that a person who loves his work never labors. There are dangers too: arrogance, complacency, being too focused on work. But don’t let yourself forget that a strength here puts you in the top 10 percent in terms of personal achievement.
Finally, my experience is that people have a deep need to make use of their giftings. If you’re not doing what you love, at least as a hobby, you may never by happy and fulfilled. You have a gift because you’re supposed to use it, and if you’re in that 40 percent, this is the solution. Even if you’re in the 60 percent, explore this side of things anyway; I promise it’ll help.
Have a blessed, wonderful day!