Brain Food: Focusing on Strengths

When I was growing up, I used a lot of effort to blend in with my classmates and friends. We’ve all asked, “How come he is so much more talented at this than I am?” or “How did she become so much better than I am at that?” As we begin to experience and develop more, we play a balancing act between our positive attributes and comparing ourselves to others.

For me, I spent lot of energy trying to enhance that which I wasn’t naturally talented at when it turns out the real secret is to focus on our strengths.


Can you believe that focusing on your weaknesses actually has a negative effect on your brain activity? I didn’t believe it either until I stumbled on scientist and self-development writer Ilka Emig, who is also the author behind Her article posted on Pick The Brain entitled “How Focusing on Strengths Instead of Weaknesses Changes Your Brain” is a great reminder as well as insightful to the point where it deserves optimal space on your fridge.

“Spending every day being reminded of what we’re not good at is frustrating. And it stresses the brain. So all of the brain’s functions are reduced to one simple activity: surviving the present situation.

The brain does only what guarantees survival and uses only what it knows. In no way is the brain able to use all of its areas and capacity to visualize and be creative at this stage. Stress reduces and blocks all that.”

Focusing on your strengths is much more than knowing that you have them. What is knowledge and skill without application? Ask Lisa Cummings, CEO of Lead Through Strengths, who delivered an impactful message on TEDx earlier last year. It’s a talk that bridges internal realization to the needed external action, which we all can use motivation in from time to time.

As we contemplated the power of strengths in the Collective last month, we worked through our StrengthsFinder results, and wonder: What are your strengths? And what can you do today and moving forward to channel them toward making an impact on your career?