Marian @ Krysan


Planting Golden Seeds across Northumberland, Tyne & Wear and Durham



Learning is a contact sport.  Play to your strengths.


Playing to your strengths in a wired world

 A Wired World



  • The Strengths Book (2010)
  • For those who seek to be strengthened
  • Alex Linley, Janet Willars, Robert Biswas-Deiner


(On Becoming a Connector)


Marian Moore

To My Friends in Cyberspace 

Many of us are familiar with the old adage "play to your strengths".  In recent years, new research from the field of positive psychology and beyond has been providing the scientific underpinnings for why this matters and the benefits that using your strengths brings. 

Popeye the Sailor ManThanks to a bit of unusual foresight by my younger self and several good teachers, I do indeed thrive in a wired world. For me, this wired world has unlocked the door to a fun, energetic and successful life. It is a life now shared on various social networking sites, not to mention here on this website through my propensity for blogging live - as now. 

Add a collection of books - a whole library full - and who could ask for more. When the house ran out of book-space, I invested in a Kindle and - coming shortly - is an iPad. Sheer bliss and a place to pause for a few words which partially, at least, explain an elderwoman's passion for all things digital: "I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well." DIANE ACKERMAN 

So it is that I work in tandem and complete accord with millions of other digital natives, young and old, from around the world.  Most will appreciate yet another good quote, this from a philosopher who lived in a less-wired age. He wrote, "Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are."  AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO  

This, too, is a good (albeit, another partial) explanation of how playing to our strengths allows folks like me to thrive in a wired world. Some earn a living doing what they do best; others simply enjoy what they do - no money changing hands. Whatever the direction of flow (and it is our choice), we are all playing to our strengths and thriving in today's wired world. Positivity flows from our finger-tips.  

Fantastic news! There is research evidence to show that people who use their strengths more - digital or otherwise - 

  • are happier
  • are more confident
  • have higher levels of self-esteem
  • have higher levels of energy and vitality
  • experience less stress
  • are more resilient
  • are more likely to achieve their goals
  • perform better at work
  • are more engaged at work
  • are more effective at developing themselves and growing as individuals 

Before proceeding further, I must congratulate author, Ben Macintyre. Writing recently in a national newspaper, he blew out of the water 'those Luddites grumbling about e-mails and tweets'. This is how he began his column: "Jonathan Franzen, the American novelist, is in a rage against the machines.  He objects to the way that modern gizmos, screens and keyboards are affecting the written word. He wants to make some corrections."

Macintyre sees such pronouncements as reflecting a fear, shared by many, that digitisation is a threat to literature itself, and that the world is becoming so swamped with e-distractions (Facebook and Twitter), that we may forget how to read 'big books with paper pages that sit on shelves'.  He argues that, on the contrary, far from killing off literature, social networking and digital publishing are creating a generation of humanity that is more closely in touch with words than any before it and gives evidence to prove it.

Ben Macintyre also comes out in support of my beloved Querty keyboard - and even finds virtue in its flaws. But, that's another story. What I can say is that the introduction of the typewriter and Qwerty made writing easier and forever changed the way the written word was produced. This is also proving true of modern devices for reading, writing and connecting. Instead of resisting Twitter, Facebook, e-book (and the rest), we would all be well advised to 'embrace each new advance in the deployment and enjoyment of words'.

We live in a Qwerty world and there is no going back. That aside, I have identified above (and with near-forensic precision) a strength related to Qwerty!  To my mind, this is an essential strength that allows me, you and us to thrive in a wired world. I now have a tad more to say about playing to your strengths in general and bring to your notice experts in the field, along with their books, blogs and websites. 


A visit to the website of the Centre for Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP) is a good place to start identifying your strengths. My own commitment to CAPP's philosophical underpinnings started way back in 2008 when I enrolled on a distance learning course in Applied Positive Psychology and became forever an enthusiastic convert.

Two books of the time were (1) Average to A+: Realising Strengths in Yourself and Others, and (2) Celebrating Strengths: Building Strengths-based Schools. Both books are published by the CAPP Press, its most recent book being The Strengths Book in 2010. Some claim that CAPP's team of contributors can 'unlock your strengths better than anyone else on the planet.'  And, they will - if you give them half a chance.  

I think you will agree that most of us are our own worst enemies, always putting ourselves down, and consequently never quite reaching our potential. I ask, Why wouldn't you want to learn how to be more confident, more successful, and enjoy better relationships by realising the best of you? Here's some advice worth heeding whatever your direction of flow at this time:

"Whether you have 'hit a wall' in your career and want to change direction, or if you simply want to pause, take stock and reconsider what you need to do differently in order to flourish where you are, The Strengths Book and the Realise2 assessment will prove invaluable resources."  ANNE WILSON, Careers Consultant, University of Warwick


The Strengths Book reveals the sixty strengths that make us who we are.  I'm going to now use the book to examine in detail just one of the sixty - the strength of Humour.  In a nutshell, those strong in Humour see the funny side of almost everything that happens - and make a joke of it.

If You Have a Strength in Humour ...  You love making people laugh and look for every opportunity to do it.  You are able to see the funny side of things and like to share this funny side with others.  You have the ability to crack a joke or tell a story that lightens the mood, gives enjoyment to others and helps people relax.

The Humour Catchphrase ...  "Have you heard the one about ..."

Meet Michaela, strong in Humour ...  "I have one particular fear, spiders?  I am actually terrified of them and avoid at all costs going anywhere that I might come into contact with one.  But I always make light of it and somehow turn my fears into one huge joke.  You can imagine that a school field trip, going pond dipping, was not on my list of things to do.  But I had to go and it turned out that we had a great time.  I made everyone laugh with my stupid antics at avoiding doing anything that involved putting my hands into dark, slimy water, and checking under my bed every night for creepy crawlies.  I must admit that I can make any situation seem funny - I just love making people laugh."

Humour Hall of Fame ...  Ronnie Barker and Ronny Corbett - The Two Ronnies, icons of British comedy.  Tina Fey - Satirist, screenwriter, and television star; creator of award-winning 30 Rock and former head writer for Saturday Night Live.  Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders - British comediennes, most famous for writing and starring in the sketch show, French and Saunders.

Humour at Work - Occupations Where you Could Find a Fit ... Bartender; Children's television presenter; Comedian/comedienne; Party planner; Trainer. 


This reminds me of a training session that took me, my husband, and one small dog all the way down to an old Woollen Mill in South Yorkshire.  My audience consisted of people responsible for the day-to-day security/administration of NHS mental health hospitals in the local area. All those present ably demonstrated the strength of Humour.  But, these weren't just delightful Yorkshire people who made me (and each other) laugh, these people were also playing to their strengths of,

  • Curiosity
  • Centredness
  • Compassion
  • Courage
  • Emotional Awareness 
  • Humility

In an enjoyable interactive session of Mental Health Awareness Training, I got to see all present as also strong in Moral Compass. Thismeans they are guided by a highly developed Ethical Code and always act and make decisions in accordance with what they believe is right. As a trainer, I appreciated that they were also good Listeners, seeing this as closely tied-in with the strength of Growth. This means that they are always on the look-out for ways to grow and develop in whatever way they can, and in whatever they are doing.  

These are strong men and women. They are in my view remarkable - and so are you.  But, do you always realise it?



The Strengths Book is a call to action which should inspire everyone to make the most of the life that they have been granted.  Like you, I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I had lived just the length of it.  I too want to live the width of life. I also want to experience the height ... why walk when you can fly?

God's messengers

Best Wishes



LINLEY, ET AL.  (2010).  The Strengths Book: Be Confident, Be Successful, and Enjoy Better Relationships by Realising the Best of You. Coventry, UK. Publisher CAPP Press.


Realise2 is Capp's leading edge strengths assessment and development tool. Used extensively to support development and performance reviews, the Realise2 Product Suite includes:

Realise2 Standard Profile - for strengths identification
• Realise2 Premium Profile - for advanced coaching
• Realise2 Team Profile - for team development
• Realise2 Organisational Profile- for organisational culture

Visit the Capp website on 


There are two key elements of a strength: (1) delivering a high level of performance, and (2) experiencing a sense of energy when you are doing it.  If one of these is missing, it's not a strength. It is what is called a learned behaviour.  As many have found to their cost, learned behaviours are things that you perform well, but which you find de-energising or draining.  Take care, as - over time - they can lead to burn-out.  


One's own self is well hidden from one's own self: of all mines of treasure, one's own is the last to be dug up. NIETZCHE


3,630 reads @ 2015-07-19

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