2012 Resolution #17: Build Your Strengths
Posted on January 17, 2012 by Maria McInnis, One of Thousands of Life Coaches on Noomii.
#17 in our month long series, today about building your strengths through talents
Resolve to build upon your strengths.
So far this week we have been focusing upon self reflection of victories and strengths that you have gained from them, and today we’re going to take this concept one step further. Today I would like for you to make the resolution to build up the strengths that you wrote down yesterday.
“You can never have enough talent.” – Pat Riley
How, one might ask, can I build my strengths? The answer is simple: use them, practice them any chance you get and live them. Once you are aware of what your strengths are, building them up becomes an easier task.
Are you creative? Find your muse: write, draw, paint, create music…do anything, but do it every day. You improve by doing, and this isn’t just with strengths based around talents, or ability, this works with the more intangible strengths as well. The more you dare to love, the more love you will have. The more you dare to follow your values, the stronger they become, and the more chance you have to expand your world and mind.
We only become good at what we practice. When we practice, the actions we take become ingrained in our body memories, and eventually become second nature. I have experienced this first hand a few times, and it never ceases to amaze me.
When I was 12 I was given the chance to start into the Middle School band. I chose the flute (which, for some reason I had mixed up with the clarinet), and soon began my journey. The first time I tried, I got nothing out of the instrument, and subsequent attempts produced a pretty terrible windy squeal that no doubt shattered my parents’ peace for many months and years to come.
I would not be put off by this initial failure. I had seen great musicians play the most heart-breaking pieces, and I wanted to be like them. So I set myself into a pattern of practice, slowly learning the keys for various notes, learning how to breathe and how to hold my body. One hour a day I tried to settle down with my silver beauty and coax a proper sound out of it. Some days I didn’t get the time, and on others I wondered in despair how long it would take.
A little under a year later I finally did something that, sort of, sounded like music instead of noise. My hands were aching, my back was sore and I had dedicated days to learning this, but a small victory was better than none. My patience, dedication, and physical endurance had led me there, but above it all I had discovered a love for something that I soon learned I could be good at!
By the time I was 18 I had moved on to an Intermediate flute, and could even get sound out of a Professional quality instrument. More amazing my fingers and my brain had seemingly become disconnected, able to work independently of each other. I no longer had to think about what I was playing, my fingers seemed to find the keys all on their own. Body memory had taken over.
In NLP we call this transition moving from Conscious Competence to Unconscious Competence. It’s the moment when the brain begins to process things on a completely unconscious level, allowing the conscious mind to focus upon other things. The entire process starts at what is called Conscious Incompetence, in which we are consciously aware that we do not know something. It is in this stage that most people give up, but we all start there.
Moving from this into Conscious Competence is where the magic starts: it’s when we make the attempt to improve upon something, gaining a new skill and focusing our strengths to expand them into new dimensions. Unconscious Competence is when our talents truly blossom, and our strengths have prevailed.
Unconscious Competence is where the talent has become ingrained into our body memory. This is where things like riding a bike are stored, and no matter what, you won’t ever forget how to do it. For me, this realization didn’t come until I was 23.
After leaving school I found less time to practice, and soon my flute case was gathering dust in the corner. Finally, in a fit of nostalgia, I opened it back up, put the instrument together, and prepared myself for a sense of failure. To my surprise, though I no longer had the lung capacity, and though my poor hands ached to stretch out, my fingers remembered each and every single note.
Building your strengths with practice, forces them into the various stages of competence until finally they become second nature to us. Thought will allow them to manifest in whatever moment we chose, and they continue to expand and grow exponentially.
So build your strengths, and always be willing to discover new talents, skills and abilities that come when we apply those strengths. Only you set your own limits, and that means that, if you chose to be, you can be unstoppable.