I bring it up, because I took the exam, and my number one strength was “Connectedness”. There is a lot of explanation and discussion about what that means, but I think this quote sums up perfectly how someone with this strengths filters the world.
“Sometimes I just look at my bowl of cereal in the morning and think about those hundreds of people who were involved in bringing me my bowl of cereal: the farmers in the field; the biochemists who made the pesticides; the warehouse workers at the food preparation plants; even the marketers who somehow persuaded me to buy this box of cereal and not a different one sitting next to it on a shelf. I know it sounds strange, but I give thanks to these people, and just doing that makes me feel more involved with life, more connected to things, less alone.”
- Rose T., psychologist
Through giving, you can learn to look beyond your own self and begin to see more ways in which we’re all connected. I come back frequently to the idea that giving can be a very small act, or a very large one (or, ideally, some combination of all sizes of giving, intertwined into your daily life). You’re likely giving throughout your day and not realizing it.
Some examples of how I have given today - watch for a few you recognize in yourself:
• placed my empty cardboard cereal box into the recycling bin instead of the garbage
• smiled at the clerk at Target, thanking her and telling her what a great job she did
• turned the lights off in the house before leaving to use less energy resources (thus reducing pollution and my electric bill simultaneously!)
• bought a calendar for a friend because she likes cows
• said hi to my neighbor and asked what he had planned that day
All of these actions helped me to connect with my environment and/or community, all of them took minimal effort relative to the potential benefit, and all of them are examples of giving.
Look around in the world around you as you go about your day. Think about your interactions with people you come in contact with, and how you can improve someone’s day with just a few extra words and/or smiles. When you walk into a store, think about everyone that was involved in making your shopping experience there possible - clerks, managers, shippers, suppliers, manufacturers, and far more. When I was returning an item the other day to a store, I watched as the clerk took care of the transaction with ease, and thought about the people who were involved with creating a system of technology, ideas, and policies that enabled the clerk to so quickly and efficiently take care of me. I thanked her, but as I walked away thinking about some different sorts of experiences I’ve had at return desks, I also said a silent thanks to the establishment that made both my experience and the job of the clerk so easy and painless.
We’re all connected, to our environment and everything that exists in it, in ways we’ll never realize. By giving your time, money, and resources to something you believe in that is bigger than yourself, you extend your awareness of what is beyond your self, and increase your opportunities to learn more about the ways in which you are connected to others.