There is a psychological phenomenon called Baader-Meinhof, and I bet you twenty-bucks someone tells you about this same phenomenon within the week. Am I a weak psychic? Unfortunately, no. But I am backed by science: the phenomenon occurs when you learn about something new and interesting (either a person, place, or fact) and suddenly, out of the blue, you hear it again. It has something to do with synchronicity and the brain’s ability to selective attention, but honestly, all I’m feeling is that the universe wants me to understand I am graduating in the adult, career-driven world in less than four months— and it wants me to understand it VERY clearly.
When that time comes, the training wheels that have been knocking along steadily beside me are going to be thrown off and it’s time to ride or die. At that point, despite the overflow of emotional, physical, and mental sludge of the past year, I’ve really got only three questions to answer: What are my strengths? How do I preform? What do I value?
The past couple of days it seems those are the only questions I’ve been presented with from the universe. When I think I’ve come to the answer of at least one of those questions, they all get tossed right back at me, my internal response clearly not the right one. So we turn to the internet for answers.
According to the Via Survey, my top five strengths are:
- Love of Learning
- Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence
- Social Intelligence
While my top five lowest strengths are:
When I first read the results, my immediate, unconscious thought was, “wow, I’m a golden retriever.”
But too often, I think being a happy person is viewed as being ignorant, or being kind is some sort of weakness. In true Baader-Meinhof form, it’s been made apparently clear to me that for both myself and in relationships with others, I have high expectations. “Knowledge workers,” Drucker says,” do not have good human relations because they have a ‘talent for people’ [but because] they focus on contribution in their own work and in their relationships with others.”
What do I contribute to humanity?
Even the ones lower on the list, I still find true. I am an incredibly proud person and I’d like to think that when it comes down to it, I would make the right decision. But isn’t that what we all assume? (If you’ve ever doubted your label as a good person, read The Spire by William Golding. He’s got humanity figured out.)
Graduation is quickly approaching and desperately, as I’m sure we all are, trying to answer the question: who am I? And more over, am I outstanding?
“For knowing where one belongs makes ordinary people— hard-working, competent, but mediocre otherwise— into outstanding performers.”
In all due respect to the VIA survey, I believe one of my greatest strengths is curiosity, about this world and everyone in it. I perform best when I’ve got something to lose, especially if it’s the respect of others. I value loyalty, compassion, and honesty. I value happiness, and bravery in the face of adversity.
I fear mediocrity. And I fear living without a plan. Truth be told, a VIA survey about what you fear the most would be much more entertaining. Haunting, sure, but as professionals, we all must understand our limitations— and what’s more paralyzing than fear?