All came from different parts of the world, all were congenial and good humored, and all had interesting backstories to their lives.
Over the course of the trip, we looked forward to the nightly connection – swapping tales about our day’s excursions and life in general.
As our adventure drew to a close, I wondered how best to let them know how much we appreciated their company. In the end, I sketched a postcard for each couple. Each sketch was different and each one represented a unique aspect of that couple’s interests.
I signed them, added a personal note to the back of each card, and presented them at our last dinner together. The postcards were a colossal hit.
I was actually surprised at how deeply they were appreciated. To me, the ideas for the cards came easily, and I enjoyed making them. It felt like no big deal. I found myself curious about what prompted the strength of their reactions.
It occurred to me that one of the reasons could be that creating and sharing the cards was a direct expression of a few of my strengths: appreciation, creativity, and thoughtfulness. There seems to be an authenticity, an ease, and a deep connection that arises when we’re acting from the core of who we are.
Action: So what’s to be gleaned from this experience at sea?
Well, it’s helpful to remember that each one of us has a distinctive set of core strengths and abilities. And because they may come easily and naturally to us, it’s easy to downplay their value or take them for granted. Don’t do that!
Learn as much as you can about what makes you unique – what comes easily to you. Find ways to actively live and give from your natural strengths.
That authentic expression makes life less of a struggle and more of a joy every day; and your impact is sure to grow along the way.
Quotes Of The Week: It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. – e.e. Cummings
Ride the energy of your own unique spirit. – Gabrielle Roth
It is the chiefest point of happiness that a man is willing to be what he is. – Desiderius Erasmus
Is life not a hundred times too short for us to stifle ourselves? – Friedrich Nietzsche
Resource Of The Week: The VIA Survey of Character Strengths will bring you fresh insights about your own core strengths. It’s a highly respected survey that has been completed by over 2.5 million people. It was created under the direction of the ‘father of Positive Psychology’, Dr. Martin Seligman.
Here are two sources for the self survey: Via Institute On Character and the University of Pennsylvania Authentic Happiness Center.
Readers Write: In response to last week’s message, Sharpen Your Pencils Today, Pause reader JB writes: I absolutely enjoy reading your column when it gets sent to me! Your articles remind me of what’s important in life and cause me to stop and think that life isn’t so bad! You nailed it on the head for me in this last article as I have that vintage 1967 Mustang GT that doesn’t get used too much because I don’t want to wear it out or wreck it. But heck I bought it to drive it!!!!