This is the first in a five-part series on Strengths Finder, a fantastic resource from Gallup that helps people realize their strengths. Our culture seems obsessed on exposing our flaws and weaknesses and how we can “improve” by altering or even reversing those traits.
But Strengths Finder is all about uncovering your innate strengths and building those virtues. Today starts my five-part journey toward doing just that.
A few weeks ago, if you were to have asked me about my #1 strength in life, I might have answered something typical/boring like writing. Or wandering. Or taking amusing pictures at Walmart. If you’d handed me the Strengths Finder book, I might have singled out belief or empathy as my #1 strength out of Strengths Finder‘s 34 possibilities.
But never would I have answered such a question with this single word: intellection.
Inte-what?? Is that even a real word? Why does WordPress give me the red squiggly line of disapproval for “intellection”? Wait — why does WordPress give me the red squiggly line of disapproval for “WordPress,” too?
I DON’T KNOW WHAT A REAL WORD IS ANYMORE. Maybe that’s why I just create my own.
Alas, after taking a 20-minute online questionnaire, Strengths Finder told me this red squiggly word, “intellection,” was my greatest strength in life.
Intellection: What It Is
According to Strengths Finder, someone with the strength of intellection simply “likes to think.” He is very introspective and experiences a constant “mental hum.”
And while I had no idea “intellection” was even a word before this book, I have to hand it to Strengths Finder: I love to think.
True, I excelled academically while in school. I greatly enjoyed the work of school (not to be confused with the relationships of school). I loved studying for 400-question history finals and crafting the perfect research paper and doing Calculus homework everyone else despised.
But bachelor’s degree in hand, I’ve continued thinking far beyond the realm of academia. Indeed, I’ve thought about a lot these last 4 years.
A couple years ago I was in my car, and all I could hear was crackly static; my speakers had blown. At the time, this was tragic: how would I possibly function driving anywhere with death-cold silence as my only companion?
Despite being one of the greatest tragedies to befall my dear sweet Mitsy, I’ve yet to replace/repair those broken speakers two years later. Finances aside, do you know why I rarely even want to repair those speakers anymore?
I like the silence; I like having isolated time to think.
When I drive, I think about my schedule for the day; I think about my past; I think about how I actually moved from Georgia to California; I think about my aspiring career as an author and how I’ve finally written a book.
I think about my friends and their current struggles and needs.
I think, and I pray. I do a lot of praying when I drive. I suppose it just goes hand-in-hand with all that intellection. I pray for me, yes, but I also pray for others.
Which leads me to something I’d like to clear about my personality.
Intellection: What It’s Not
My Strengths Finder resources include an “action plan” to further each of my top-5 strengths. Among such practical prescriptions as “read more” and “write your ideas in a journal,” the action point that stood out most was this:
People may think you are aloof or disengaged when you close your door or spend time alone. Help them understand that this is simply a reflection of your thinking style, and that it results not from a disregard for relationships, but from a desire to bring the most you can to those relationships.
I often wonder what people think of me. If people could watch a 24-hour video-feed of my life, I’ve often wondered what they would think.
What would they think as I drive my car in utter silence?
What would they think as I spend 3, 4, 5 straight hours in a coffee shop?
What would they think as I journal beneath a tree in the park?
Would they think me odd? Would they think me reclusive? Would they think me “aloof” or “disengaged” with society?
I don’t want to be thought odd or aloof.
As I delve deeper into this Strengths Finder blogging series, I suppose this is my starting point: I care about relationships. I care very deeply about people, as some of my other top-5 strengths (harmony, empathy) hopefully emphasize.
Yes, I’m an introvert; yes, I need my solo getaway time.
But it’s when I’m separated from society that I recharge and refuel and return to community again.
I desperately need to be in community. We all do. I might just “do” community differently than others. Might take more time away from it than most.
But gosh do I care; I care so much. I hope y’all realize that, whether we’re best friends, good friends, family, or total strangers. I think about you, and I journal about you, and I pray for you.
I might appear disconnected, but I hope this post can illuminate your eyes as to just how much I care.
INTELLECTION QUIZ: how much do YOU “think”? Do you ever drive places in silence? How appealing does an entire afternoon alone in a coffee shop sound? Friends, welcome to my world.