The Pursuit of Happiness

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

We recently had the opportunity to see a presentation on the Declaration of Independence while we were in South Dakota.  I found out that the wording of this particular area of the Declaration of Independence was very concise and intentional.  We are not guaranteed happiness.  We are all free to seek it.  This got me thinking that each one of us has a unique design that affects what creates happiness for us, how we find contentment, and how we experience joy  in our lives.  One thing that I also found is that happiness can be influenced by many different factors;  Situations, seasons, relationships, physical environment or health, emotions, spiritual and mental health.  Some things we could control and some that we cannot.  One of the things discovered, in my experience in coaching others, is that understanding yourself can help you discover how and where to pursue your happiness.  This can serve as a starting point in your pursuit. It can also help see what is getting in the way of that pursuit and why. It can provide perspective in how we see our stories.

How do you define happiness?  What brings you joy?

I have touched on the topic of Gallup Strengths previously and how it helps to uncover your unique talents and design.  Today I will give you a brief overview of strengths.  I hope that it might help you to consider how to pursue your happiness.  Even if you have not taken the Gallup Strengths Finder you will likely see strengths that resonate with you.  Maybe as we celebrate this Fourth of July, Independence Day, we can reflect on new ways to pursue some new paths to happiness throughout the rest of the summer.

Here are summaries of the 34 signature themes of strength based on Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton in the book, Now, Discover Your Strengths :

Strength Description
Achiever A relentless need for achievement.
Activator “When can we start?” is a recurring question in your life.
Adaptability You live in the moment.
Analytical “Prove it. Show me why what you are claiming is true.”
Arranger You are a conductor.
Belief You have certain core values that are enduring.
Command You take charge.
Communication You like to explain, to describe, to host, to speak in public, or to write.
Competition You have a need to outperform your peers.
Connectedness You know that we are all connected.
Context You look back to understand the present.
Deliberative You identify, assess, and reduce risk.
Developer You see the potential in others.
Discipline Your world needs to be ordered and planned.
Empathy You can sense the emotions of those around you.
Fairness Balance is important to you.
Focus Your goals are your compass.
Futuristic “Wouldn’t it be great if …” The future fascinates you.
Harmony You look for areas of agreement.
Ideation You are fascinated by ideas.
Inclusiveness “Stretch the circle wider.” You can to include people and make them feel like part of the group.
Individualization You’re intrigued by the unique qualities of each person.
Input You collection information – words, facts, books and quotations.
Intellection You like to think. You like mental activity.
Learner You love to learn.
Maximizer Excellence, not average, is your measure.
Positivity You are generous with praise, quick with smile, and always on the lookout for the positive in the situation.
Relater You derive a great deal of pleasure and strength from being around your close friends.
Responsibility You take psychological ownership for anything you commit to, and you feel emotionally bound to follow it through to completion.
Restorative You love to solve problems.
Self-assurance You have faith in your strengths.
Significance You want to be very significant in the eyes of other people.
Strategic You create alternative ways to sort through the clutter and find the best route.
Woo You win others over.


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