Last week I have mentioned briefly about Gallup’s Strengths Finder. I have got some questions about the test and in this post I would try my best to answer the what, why, how, and where questions. The when, is obviously, now.

My editor in Meld mentioned about this test sometime last year. She marketed the test so well that I was determined to do it one day. She said the test opened her mind to pursue a career as a journalist, as her strengths are perfect to be one.

One year passed, and I forgot about it.

Of course, it was somewhere at the back of my mind, but I did not want to go buy the book (which was expensive when bought in-store). Yet a couple of months ago a colleague in Meld offered to buy the books in bulk via online shopping, so I opted in my name and waited.

Then I did the test.

Strengths Finder book, photo by Marcela Purnama

Gallup’s Strength Finder assesses your strengths, finding your five top ones among the 34 that they have. It is based on numerous psychology researches, and as a Psychology student myself I believe in the system. No strength is better than the other, it’s just there are better ‘jobs’ that align with your strengths in order to maximise your productivity.

To do the test, you need to buy the book (the e-book or physical one), get the access code, and go to the to redeem the code. It takes roughly thirty minutes to finish the test.

The strengths finder itself is made based on the premise that the world operates on focusing on your weaknesses and improving them. It’s not wrong, but putting too much emphasis is. Instead, we need to focus on our strengths and keep on improving them. We are advised to work with people who have other strengths that we do not have in order  to collaborate successfully, instead of trying to do all things that you are not good at by yourself. It’s a wonderful revelation.

If you want more information about the test, listen to Michael Hyatt’s podcast about this particular issue. It’s highly recommended.

After doing the test, I found out that my five top strengths are strategic, adaptability, communication, maximiser, and belief.

At a first glance, I was confused. I never thought that I have strengths in these categories. But as I read more about the description and think about it, the more I find light bulbs and the more the strengths resonate with me.

Take strategic for example. I never thought myself as being able to strategise something. Not in a thousand years. Yet it is said to be my top strength! Strategic is a strength that enables someone to think out of the box, to find out solutions to problems in limited amount of time; in other words, I should be someone who is quick at thinking and whose logic plays. 

While I have talked about games in the previous post, let me talk about another example this time.

Let’s talk about Maths.

Every Mathematician knows that there are a lot of ways to solve one problem. And to solve a complicated one, the person should be able to throw away strategies that do not work and tweak the ones that may show results. I was, well, hopefully still am, good at that.

Some people were born with innate Math talents. I was not one of them. A girl friend in high school was so genius in Math that I was sure she was able to solve anything, easily. She was a pure genius, I was not.

But I can proudly say that in my Year 12 I was one among seven others who took Mathematics Extension 2 subject – a Math subject which difficulty is on par with university students. And I aced it. I got the title as the best achiever on that subject at the end of the year. My Dad couldn’t have been prouder when I walked to the stage.

Proudly walking to the stage during Senior High School graduation ceremony.

But I never really did like Maths. I did the subject only because I could. Because even though I didn’t like Maths per se, I liked problem solving. I like strategising in order to figure out a problem. That was how I survived my high school Maths subjects.

If you asked me now to do all those problems once again, I would stare at them blankly, thinking how on earth did I manage to do these questions. But leave me long enough and I would (hopefully) get the answers. Because I like tweaking stuffs. That was why I was good at Maths. Because Maths problems are composed of things that are needed to be decomposed and played around.

I never did realise it until now.

The same goes with my other strengths. And yours too. You just need to find yours and improve them in places where they could be maximised and multiplied. That’s why you are good at certain jobs, and crap at others.

You see, in knowing your strengths, you can play the game in a way that align at your advantage. More odds would be placed on your favour.

Figure out your strengths, live to your potential, and start seeing real fruits of your labor.

Have you ever done the Gallup’s Strengths Finder test? What do you think about it? Do you know your strengths and ways to maximise them? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.