Shift Focus from Weakness to Strength

If I asked you, “Do people focus more on their strengths or their weaknesses?” What would your answer be? If I asked you which one you tend to focus on, what would your answer be? Studies demonstrate that most people focus on their weaknesses first, and there are several reasons as to why this could be.

The first and foremost reason is the negativity bias, wherein negative events have a stronger impact on our psychological well-being. Secondly, there is a common misconception that there’s more bad in the world than good. This even shows up in the English language: there are 1.5 times more words with a negative connotation than a positive one. Finally, society lends itself for us to focus on the negative. For example, in research with parents checking their child’s report cards, 77 percent of parents focus on the Ds or Fs rather than the As or Bs. While there is value in identifying our weaknesses and what we need to improve, there is just as much value in identifying our strengths as well. But how to get there? What Are Character Strengths?

The research behind identifying our strengths comes from psychologist Martin Seligman and his colleagues. They knew individuals focused more on weaknesses, but they posited this was the result of strengths being more difficult to identify. Therefore, they set out to answer the question, “What is good character?” They did not know how they were goi