I recently took a business-oriented personality test, along the lines of Myers-Briggs, but different. Clifton StrengthsFinder lives up to its name by identifying unique personality strengths, and encouraging users to maximize the potential of their five top-rated strengths.
No one who knows me will be surprised that one of my top scores was Positivity:
- You are generous with praise, quick to smile, and always on the lookout for the positive in the situation.
- Some call you lighthearted. Others just wish that their glass were as full as yours seems to be.
- People want to be around you. Their world looks better around you because your enthusiasm is contagious.
- Lacking your energy and optimism, some find their world drab with repetition or, worse, heavy with pressure.
- You seem to find a way to lighten their spirit.
- You inject drama into every project.
- You celebrate every achievement.
- You find ways to make everything more exciting and more vital.
- Some cynics may reject your energy, but you are rarely dragged down.
- Somehow you can’t quite escape your conviction that it is good to be alive, that work can be fun, and that no matter what the setbacks, one must never lose one’s sense of humor.
Wow. I knew I was positive, but I had no idea it had that effect on some people! Seriously? Your “world looks better” around me? It’s funny to me because I just can’t see myself through other people’s eyes. I’m accident prone, I work hard not to stutter, I can be petrify-ingly shy – traits which are hardly people-magnets. But I guess the fact that I can laugh at my faults is somehow attractive?
In addition to identifying strengths, though, StrengthsFinder makes suggestions for connecting with others who do not possess and might misinterpret a particular strength. The recommendation for Positivity is, “Be prepared to explain that your enthusiasm is not simple naivety. You know that bad things can happen; you simply prefer to focus on the good things.”
The accuracy of this is astonishing. I already have a clear idea of the effect I have on this personality type. Through the years I have been called a variety of names because of my positive attitude. In school I was the “teacher’s pet,” in the military a “brown-noser.” Women especially have tagged me as fake. One woman even posted a public rant against my personality type. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “No one can be that happy.” I notice and point out pretty things like shoes and bags and scarves. Once, after complimenting a lady’s dress at church, she asked suspiciously, “What do you mean by that?” I replied nothing more than that I liked her dress. She admitted that she didn’t like it, and thought my compliment was a veiled criticism, along the lines of a sneering, “Niiiiice dress.” I didn’t sneer, scout’s honor.
I’ve been accused of being naive and delusional. I’ve been told repeatedly to take off my rose-colored-glasses, to open my eyes and face reality. Usually I launch into my spiel of “Believe me, I’ve been through some very hard times, I know life can be harsh, blah blah blah.” Even then some people continue to treat me as if I were an ignorant five year old who’s hardest trial has been losing a teddy bear. I don’t know why I thought I was the only person who dealt with this issue, but I’m glad to see that I’m not alone. There are other happy people out there getting grief for being upbeat and choosing to be happy.
If Positivity is one of your strengths, then more power to ya, my friend. Ride the Rainbow! Spread the joy!
If Positivity is not one of your strengths, I have some advice. Please cut us Grinning Idiots some slack. We’re not shallow, we’re not kissing up, we’re not hiding from the painful realities of live – we simply choose to greet the world with a smile. Relax and bask in the pixie dust we sprinkle your way. Who knows, you just might find yourself smiling, too.
What is your take on positivity?
image courtesy of kanji-and-koi