The 3 Levels of mastering your Signature Strengths.
Updated: May 19, 2021
Want to take your Signature Strengths to the next level? Here are 3 levels to max out your strengths and let them shine in your life.
If you're reading this article and wondering, "What is this Signature Strengths thing ah". Then you've come to wrong place.
No no, don't close this site. I need you!
You've only just missed reading a previous article called Find out what your Top 5 Signature Strengths are that explains this Positive Psychology concept.
In that article, we did a short and free online test to discover what your top Five strengths were out of a total of 24 Signature Strengths.
So go on and check it out. Then come back here please!
Okay I know my Top Five Strengths liao, come on let's go.
Level 1: Using your Signature Strengths in New ways.
You've already read about this in the previous article Find out what your Top 5 Signature Strengths are.
Right? Don't gei siao hor and make sure you read and do properly. If you want to be happier, it takes real action!
Well, since we are in Singapore and we like to take exams and get scores, below is the passing criteria for this level.
Level 1 Passing Criteria:
To pass this level, try using one of your Signature Strengths each day in a new way for two weeks. Make sure you've had the opportunity to use all of your Top 5 Signature Strengths at least once!
How did you feel?
According to research, doing this should give you a big boost of happiness, even up to Six months from now. Congrats! Now we can move on.
Level 2: Use your Signature Strengths to get into a Flow State.
"What the heck is this Flow state? Wah lau why you keep throw me funny funny psychology mumbo-jumbo".
Well read the description below and see if it sounds familiar lah.
Think about the last time you were doing an activity that you made you totally absorbed.
You immersed your entire consciousness into the activity, and the only thing that mattered was the activity itself and getting to some end-goal you've set for yourself.
All sense of Time seemed to flow away from your consciousness, and along with that, all your sense of self.
Any thoughts, worries and concerns outside of the activity were superseded and forgotten for the moment.
The conditions of the task required it. It was challenging, but not too daunting that would cause you any stress. Moreover, it seemed to be just the right amount of challenge that required you to stretch your skill and mind.
After hours, minutes, seconds going by in an instant, PIAK! You finally emerge from the activity and a sense of accomplishment and reward washes over you. It feels like you've stretched your competencies to the next level.
Looking back, you can't help but feel a sense that you thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
That is what a Flow experience feels like.
Flow states happen over many different types of activities.
These include sports like swimming and playing squash; leisure games like chess and making a jig-saw; intellectual tasks like working on a project or learning a new skill; creativity like playing music or writing a book.
However, there are Three Conditions to meet if you want to get into a Flow state, these are:
The activity must be challenging, meeting your current skill level.
There are immediate goals and feedback for each session.
You feel intrinsically rewarded by growing your physical or intellectual skills.
Getting in Flow: Balance between challenge and skill.
If you'd like to learn more, you can check out my article What is Flow and why does it makes you Happier?
For now let's get back into using your Signature Strengths to get into Flow.
Level 2 Signature Strengths Activity:
Look at each of your Top Five Signature Strengths and think of some activities you can do that can help you get into a Flow state.
Examples for some Signature Strengths might be:
Creativity: Start writing that book you've always wanted to write, or Poetry, or composing music or starting a band.
Bravery: Take on a new hobby or look at one of your personal fears. Start pursuing it.
Kindness: Give some time each week to volunteer at a charity.
Teamwork: Try using this strength more. Proactively identify ways to improve teamwork at your job or a favourite sport you play.
Fairness: Think about something that you really care deeply about changing. Join a group that makes progress toward that movement.
What you might find is that not only are you using your strengths more than ever before, but the activity itself is entirely rewarding.
It keeps your mind engaged all while knowing you are putting your potential to use.
But of course we need another score to see if you pass or not.
Level 2 Passing Criteria:
To pass this level, keep up a Flow activity for at least a month.
Try using one or more of your Signature Strengths to get into Flow. According to Positive Psychology, staying Engaged in one of five key ways to boost your wellbeing and happiness!
Level 3: Use your Signature Strengths to add value to the world.
What gives your life Meaning?
The most common answer for us younger Singaporeans nowadays is to spend our time doing what we've always dreamt to do, be it travelling the world, finding your dream job, opening up your café or bar, or even not having to work, blah blah blah.
I don't mean to make fun of your dreams. I've always wanted to be a writer, but imagine this.
Let's say like me, you've always wanted to be a writer, and someone agreed to pay you for it.
What if that book you wrote was never read by a single person? Or for me, if not a single person ever read this blog?
Even if you were paid well, would that still be a meaningful for you? Probably not. I know I'd be pretty bummed out. I mean, we are talking about Meaning right, not money?
If you are someone who says,
"If I have more money, life will be more meaningful" or "With more money, I can then start doing more meaningful things".
Then you've got some thinking to do my friend. What are the things you can do with more money to get Meaning, which you can't start doing right now?
My face when no one reads my blog.
It's the same with travelling. Sure, spending a year travelling the world sounds fantastic.
What happens after a year when you get sick and tired of travelling to all sorts of different countries and places? You'll probably find that the novelty has worn off and you've run out of wanderlust. What then?
Where can I go next to fill the hole that is my life?
We often confuse Meaning with our dreams and aspirations. We look at it from a selfish lens. We think it's what makes us happy.
Yet here's the distinction - Dreams are about what you've always wanted to do; Meaning is what how what you do can help people and change the world.
You can read more about this in my article How to find Meaning in your Life and Work. For now, let's see how we can use our Signature Strengths to actually add value to people's lives.
Because that's what Meaning really is.
Level 3 Activity:
Check out this diagram below. It actually depicts how best we can put our Signature Strengths to work. It's a combination of what we derive pleasure from, what we are good at, and what value you bring the world.
Can you start thinking about how you turn your Signature Strengths into something that changes people's lives for the better?
Mind you, some of your Signature Strengths are inherently people-centric. Such as Kindness, Teamwork, Love, Forgiveness etc. So for these, it shouldn't be too difficult already.
What about the others?
Creativity is my top Signature Strength. How did I put it to use? Why, by starting Kaya Toast for the Soul of course, and hopefully there's somebody out there reading this now.
Hello is there anybody there? Ni hao!
Start going through your Signature Strengths and see how you can use them to impact other people's lives.
If it's Humour, then why not make it a habit to make people laugh more. Bring laughter to your work and home.
If it's about Spirituality, why not be a proponent for what you believe in and encourage others who are interested?
If it's Social Intelligence, why not see if you can help out somebody who is struggling, or even volunteer at a local help-line?
If it's Hope, why not start a career that brings your optimsim about the future to others?
Using your Signature Strengths at this level is the ultimate achievement of your life.
I really, really hope you get there.
Level 3 Passing Criteria:
This one is simple. All it takes to pass this is being able to look back on your life and say to yourself:
"Yup, I've lived a great and meaningful life".
Hello my Singaporean bro or sis, thanks so much for taking the time to stop by. I'd love it if you could drop a life or leave a comment, just so I know I'm not talking to myself. Thanks and until next time, your friend Hernping.