Living Strong Abroad: Collective Talents Create Change

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Knowledge is half the battle. I mean, that’s what they say right.

Some people thought my last article seemed a bit doom & gloom, which surprised me. Granted, it’s not a half glass full topic, but we can’t do anything about a negative situation until we know why it’s happening.

As a reminder, I pointed out some interesting thoughts on the Top 10 strengths and how it’s currently affecting global culture & politics. This week, I want to provide an insight on how we can “move the needle” in a more positive direction.

The truth is, it IS within us to do so, it boils down to choices and acknowledging that our talents when matured to strengths, can have a direct impact on making this world a better place.

Following the 1-10 order as we did last time, let’s look at what we (the collective we) could be doing differently.

Achiever: Setting goals and getting things done. We are constantly setting new goals for ourselves and for our kids. Filling our schedules with as much as we can possibly do and then some more, just for good measure. If we could focus this energy on making family and community an active part of our to-do list, our relationships and well-being would improve as a result.

Responsibility: Keeping your word and being responsible to others. Be impeccable with our word. Say what we mean and mean what we say. When we make a promise, keep it. Hold this concept close as an opportunity for leading by example. Not only be responsible for what affects you but what affects those around you. We all have the power to change.

Learner: A joy for the process of learning. We know more about climate change, food systems, water shortages than we ever have in the past. Knowledge is power and we must wield it for the betterment of society. Taking action when necessary. Applying what we know in measurable ways. Appreciating that with knowledge comes progress.

Relator: Building and needing deep relationships. Paraphrasing Dr. Donald Clifton, the father of strengths psychology, all talents emerge in the context of relationships. Good, bad or otherwise, when we work together, and more importantly trust each other, imagine what a changing culture we could instill. It’s the human factor we’ve overlooked and are now suffering severe consequences of a “people as numbers” mentality.

Strategic: Being able to plan for an intended outcome. If we set world peace as an outcome, how many paths could we take to get there? I can think of a few and most of them don’t really require that much effort. If each of us could figure out what small thing we could do to reach the common goal, it wouldn’t seem so unattainable.

Input: Accumulating knowledge to be put to use. 1. See Learner. 2. For everything we know, there is someone – if not us – who can make good use of that knowledge. It is our obligation to share what we know with those who are able to make decisions and affect change.

Harmony: Finding the win-win in difficult situations. This feels obvious to me and it’s my own #34 (meaning I don’t do Harmony as a talent well). How hard would it be to find the win-win for relationships, goals, businesses, the environment, etc? Compassionate or philanthropic capitalism comes to mind.

Empathy: Being able to feel what others are feeling and expressing feelings as well. If we were able to truly have empathy (and this is a word that is often misused) we wouldn’t need campaigns like BLM or #metoo. We could express our feelings without fear of reproach along with understanding how others might feel by placing ourselves in their shoes.

Restorative: A master problem solver. Attack problems head-on. Acknowledge what is broken and then full speed ahead on solutions. There is beauty in seeing what isn’t working and having no fear of facing it. But our solutions need to be long-term and sustainable – not temporary band-aids that will just make the problem worse in the future. We need to be thinking less about ourselves and more about the next 3 generations and what they will face if we don’t start making changes now.

Adaptability: The ability to be flexible. Being flexible is great, it allows for different opinions and necessary (positive) innovations to happen without backlash and pushback. Those who are early adapters can shed light on why adjusting to the changes benefits the overall environment and make the transition easier for those who are more comfortable in what is known and familiar.

I hope this sheds some light on why I see hope behind the talents. There are darkness and light behind each talent, but it is up to us to lead from light. We have a choice. We can be resolute and hide our heads like ostriches in the sand. Or we can claim our talents, lean into them and make lasting positive change.

Are you up for the challenge? I know I am.

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Hope Ansanelli

A native of Long Island, New York, Hope joins our team after finishing up her two year Peace Corp's service working in community-based environmental resource management in northern Peru and Master's degree in Environmental Studies. Passionate about life and living it beyond limits, Hope loves to teach and practice Yoga, cook healthy home-made recipes and explore the world with her loved ones.