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If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will notice that I am an insatiable learner.  I am always interested in learning more about my surroundings, and I am even more curious about understanding myself.  With that said, I recently discovered an online tool that allows you to discover your character strengths in 15 minutes.  I thought I would share that with all who may be interested in self-discovery.

To take the survey, please visit (it’s free): http://www.viasurvey.org/

According to the test, my top five strengths are:

  1. Love of Learning (surprise, surprise)
  2. Judgment, critical thinking, and open-mindedness
  3. Perspective (wisdom)
  4. Honesty, authenticity, and genuineness
  5. Gratitude

It is interesting to note that if I had taken the test five years ago, the list would have looked dramatically different.  I would still have been a voracious learner, but I probably wouldn’t have the perspective or gratitude I encompass today.  Overall, I think it’s a good thing that we continue to evolve (and improve) from who we are today to who we will become tomorrow.

So if you are curious about your strengths, go take the test!  The good thing (other than it’s free) is the site will save your results so that you can revisit and recheck your strengths in the future.  If you happen to take the test and would like to share your results, please post them in the comment section.

Note: If you are interested in a more comprehensive strengths analysis, I highly recommend the StrengthsFinder tool.  You can read my blog post about it here and access the test here.

Sarah Palin puzzles me.  I had previously written about her and why she scares me as the potential VP of the United States, but today I want to tell you a bit more of what I learned from her behavior that would hopefully teach us all a lesson about life.

Sarah Palin came from a humble enough background — no super rich family to help her out at the beginning of her life, no special connections to get her to where she is today.  She was just an average citizen like many of us.  She got to where she is today by her will to succeed, for the most part.  That accomplishment is in and of itself very commendable. In many ways, she is one of the success stories of the American life — if you believe in yourself and work hard at your goals, you will get to here you want to go.

In fact, Sarah Palin is one of the most confident women I’ve seen.  She doesn’t let obstacles bring her down, and she always has the self-confidence that she will succeed.  The problem lies in her self-awareness.  More specifically, her self-confidence is in no way balance by her self-awareness (or lack thereof).

In my opinion, self-confidence and self-awareness are two sides of the same coin — both sides are needed in order to move forward in life.  Self-confidence gives you the belief that life challenges are conquerable, without which every task in life would seem like climbing Mount Everest.  Self-awareness, on the other hand, is the feedback loop to let you know not only what it takes to get to where you want to go, but also how you are doing along the way.

To continue with the analogy of climbing Mount Everest, it is not enough to simply believe you can do it; you need to also know (and be honest about) your state of health to correctly assess whether climbing to the highest peak in the world is the right thing for you at this very moment.  If it’s not, there is one of two things you can do:

  1. You can ascend anyway but your chance of failure and death is astronomically large.
  2. You can train yourself to be in a better climbing shape and attempt the task once you have build up your muscles, expanded your lung capacity and increased your physical and mental endurance.

Sarah Palin, although full of self-confidence that she can be the VP of the United States, lacks the self-awareness to know that she is, at this very moment, NOT qualified to be one.  That is not to say she will not be qualified to be one in the future as long as she prepares herself between now and then.  But to prepare herself means to face the brutal fact of her current reality, and that is to be self-aware that she currently lacks the VP qualification.  Unfortunately, she does not appear to have that self-awareness that will propel her forward in her political aspiration.

So the lesson is:  ALWAYS balance your self-confidence with your self-awareness.  Too much of one without equal amount of the other can prove disastrous in accomplishing your goals in life.