we like lists: list # 6: five strengths

Our last list - alternate realities - didn't get a huge response. Perhaps the topic didn't resonate with many readers, or maybe the timing was off. Or it could have been a fluke, who knows. That thread is still open if anyone wants to chime in.

"Alternate realities" was our dreams of people we might wish to be. Today's list is the flipside: positive aspects of the people we already are.

I'd like you to list five things that you do well. Not the top five things you do best; just five things that you do well, things you are good at, qualities about yourself that you like. Five strengths.

And these are the rules: no apologies, no disclaimers, no qualifiers. No acknowledging that other people might do these things better. No telling us that others may disagree with your list or that our mileage may vary. Only this: five positive statements about yourself, affirming five personal strengths.

Here's mine.

1. I write good letters.

2. I'm a good organizer.

3. I am fully at ease with all kinds of people - a diversity of age, background, ethnicity, ability, and so on.

4. I deeply appreciate human creativity - music, writing, handwork, performance, visual arts, etc.

5. I love having new experiences.

Now you try. Mind the rules!


allan said...

1. Meticulous attention to detail (proofreading, design/layout, research, house cleaning)

2. Wide-ranging curiosity

3. Skeptical of accepted wisdom

4. Belief that people should do/say/live their lives the way that makes them happy without caring how it looks to anyone else (is there a word for this?)

5. Sense of fairness/justice

laura k (aka L-girl) said...

Belief that people should do/say/live their lives the way that makes them happy without caring how it looks to anyone else (is there a word for this?)

Nonconformist? Tolerant and encouraging of nonconformity?

Amy said...

OK, don't be surprised if you don't get a huge response to this because I know that I am not comfortable talking about my strengths, and so maybe others will not be either.

Having said that, I will bite down, resist the urge to apologize or qualify and play along:

1. Honesty

2. Loyalty

3. I can make people laugh.

4. I write clearly.

5. I can explain things to others, i.e., teach.

laura k (aka L-girl) said...

Amy, that's the whole point. You've already broken the rules!

laura k (aka L-girl) said...

But thanks for trying :)

Amy said...

Hey, I said I was NOT going to apologize or qualify! I thought I did pretty well and didn't break the rules! :)

johngoldfine said...

1. I am very punctual, and punctuality is the courtesy of kings, they say.

2. I always follow through and do what I have promised I would do.

3. I will apologize without hesitation or qualification (not happily, just without hesitation or qualification.)

4. With a sotto voce remark I can make a whole room of sobersides break into laughter. I never hesitate, and I never resist temptation--or even try.

5. I desperately hate textbooks and would consider myself a total wanker if I ever used one with my students, but I don't, dammit!

laura k (aka L-girl) said...

I think the preface was a form of qualification. :)

Amy said...

OK, mea culpa! LOL!

Amy said...

John, so glad to know someone else who is punctual. I am not sure it is always perceived as a good thing...by those who are NOT punctual and aren't ready for you at the time they said they would be!

laura k (aka L-girl) said...

John and Amy, great lists. Thanks.

(I am also punctual!)

laura k (aka L-girl) said...

Anyone who is reading, I didn't necessarily mean "big" things, major life strengths. Writing good letters, being organized... small things are good too.

Amy said...

Great, so the three of us can make a plan to meet for dinner some time (in some wonderful hypothetical universe) and know that we will all be there on time. Are your significant others also punctual? It is one of the traits Harvey and I share, making it much easier on both of us when going some place.

laura k (aka L-girl) said...

At the risk of drawing unnecessary apologies... I'd like to cut down a bit on the game-thread type chats in the list threads. Sorry and thanks in advance!

johngoldfine said...

Amy--There was a local movie theatre in Camden Maine, now defunct, that regularly started its advertised 7 pm feature at sometime after 7:05 or even 7:10.

When I would expostulate with management, they would give me a doper look and say, 'We're trying to show some consideration for people who might be late.'

And, of course, that would send me right into orbit, 'You want to show consideration for your inconsiderate hypothetical customers at the expense of your actual considerate and punctual ones?'

That point never seemed to find its mark with them because they were never less than five minutes starting late and on bad nights as much as 14 minutes....

johngoldfine said...

I guess I just did that, laura k, before seeing your comment. Won't happen again.

laura k (aka L-girl) said...

I know, John, your comment came through while I was typing mine. It's no prob - not a big deal at all.

Lorraine said...

1. I exhibit economy of expression.

2. My handwriting is beautiful.

3. My golf swing doesn't suck.

4. I'm skilled at BS detection.

5. I elevate thrift to an art form.

laura k (aka L-girl) said...

2. I always follow through and do what I have promised I would do.

3. I will apologize without hesitation or qualification (not happily, just without hesitation or qualification.)

These are both rare qualities and so valuable. Imagine how much better the world would be if more people could honestly list these among their attributes.

impudent strumpet said...

1. Thinking of new ideas that other people haven't thought of.

2. Making analogies and mnemonics and other things to help people remember and understand things.

3. Getting good grades in school. If you could earn a living by taking undergrad courses and getting A's, that would be my career.

4. Making responsible decisions. When left to my own devices and without any particular effort to be virtuous, my decisions tend to come out harmless and generally positive.

5. Translating. Which sounds crazy ego to say "out loud" because it's my job, but things seem to come naturally to me that don't come naturally to everyone, and quite a few of the things other people struggle with have never even entered my radar as an issue to struggle with.

It was HARD to think of five things!

(Still going to do the alternate realities, I just haven't had nearly as much time to play on the internet in the past week as I'd've liked.)

deang said...

1. I can whistle elaborately through my teeth but not through my lips like other people (and it sounds full and strong, not wheezy). I just started doing it one day as a child out of nowhere and have been able to do it ever since.

2. I pick up pronunciations of other languages very well and very quickly, always much faster than I learn the grammar and vocabulary, which sometimes results in native speakers thinking I’m fluent when I’m not. This is probably a result of being drilled to sing in multiple, unfamiliar languages in my youth.

3. My mind naturally learns the binomial taxonomic nomenclature of biology; the names just somehow stick in my head after only brief exposure.

4. I pay attention to what people say and am always curious about why people are the way they are, which results in me being told often that I’m a “good listener.”

5. I can usually get to the core issue in a topic or dispute or article pretty fast. This is something I’m told I’m good at more than something I’m aware of; “You get right to the root of things,” people say, that sort of thing.

M@ said...

1. I can cook. I get food. I love food and love to get food right. The magic transformation--raw tomatoes into tomato sauce, raw salmon into cured and then smoked salmon--never gets old, and I get better and better at this.

2. I can talk about sports. I can have a meaningful conversation about sports with almost any guy who's into sports to any degree. This is an invaluable form of bonding. I can talk boxing, football (NFL or CFL), soccer, golf, hockey, athletics, rowing, speed skating, and even some paralympics. It doesn't hurt that I've got a good memory for facts, and that I enjoy thinking and talking about sports, for their own sake.

3. Packing. I once moved a friend's entire apartment in my little hatchback Hyundai. I can't explain it; it's just a gift for getting maximum stuff in minimum space. One of the many skills I learned in the army, but easily the most transferable to normal life.

4. I can wear a suit pretty well. I think I pull off the well-groomed, collar-and-tie look when I want to. I spent a lot of time early in my working career wearing suits, and it really helped me get the feeling right. Note that I choose not to exercise this skill very often, because it takes time, money, and effort to get it right. (Though my recent officiant work has made me spend more of all of these on it lately.)

5. I relate well to people. I actually do want to know what people are doing, what they think of things, what they care about, what they are creating. What's more, I can find a way to be positive and enthusiastic about those things, and I think it makes people feel good to talk about them (and it makes me feel good as well). This is invaluable in the work I do with writers and other artists and thinkers, and I think this explains why I've gotten so involved with some volunteering work as much as I have.

(When we get to listing our weaknesses, I can talk about how I over-explain things, and then apologize for the appalling excess of detail in everything I say and write...)

laura k (aka L-girl) said...

When we get to listing our weaknesses, I can talk about how I over-explain things

LOL, your #6, sense of humour.

Actually, your list made me think of another for myself: I'm a very good interviewer.

We will not be listing weaknesses!

Joe Gravellese said...

1. I always back up my opinions with evidence and facts.

2. I change my opinion when presented with facts that contradict what I once thought.

3. I'm a very meticulous researcher and really good at using internet tools for research.

4. I have a really good memory and can recall seemingly mundane things, which usually only helps during bar trivia, but sometimes helps in real life. haha

5. I'm very adaptible to a wide range of circumstances and situations.

deang said...

Packing. I once moved a friend's entire apartment in my little hatchback Hyundai. I can't explain it; it's just a gift for getting maximum stuff in minimum space.

I almost put this in my list, too! I can't explain it either, but I'm so good at it that friends call on me to help them with it. And I used to move my entire apartment in the back of my little hatchback '86 Corolla, easy.

laura k (aka L-girl) said...

Allan has that packing skill, too! When we moved to Canada, most of our apartment was packed and moved by professional movers. But we needed to leave out enough for a week on each end - and it turned out we left out way more than we thought! We had a rental minivan and two dogs, and it seemed like an impossibility... but somehow he packed it. Poor Cody had a little tent under an ironing board. :)

Dharma Seeker said...

How rad that there are so many good packers out there!

1. I can find humour in almost any situation

2. I live my life in a genuine and authentic way

3. I have guts. I don't shy away from threats, challenges, or difficulties. I speak up for what is right even if there is opposition.

4. I'm very fair. I don't let my personal feelings bias my decisions about others. I give everyone a chance (or two).

5. I'm pragmatic. I am good at seeing the big picture and identifying the greater good.

Anonymous said...

2. I'm a good organizer.

I'd kill for your organisational skills, or at least pay large sums of money.