Build Your Life Around your Talents


In the previous post I talked about dreams and passions and I mentioned the book called ” Now Discover Your Strengths ” by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O.Clifton. This came about when I was talking about a talented young illustrator / artist named Ryan Pratt.

See the post here

I said that I had actually read the book and had taken the online strengths finder profile test. The profile measures 34 themes of talent that were formed after a study interviewed 2 million people about their strengths. The test actually reveals  where you have the greatest potential for strengths.


Now Discover Your Strengths By Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton

The 34 Themes Of Talent

Achiever, Activator, Adaptability, Analytical, Arranger, Belief, Command, Communication, Competition, Connectedness, Consistency, Context, Deliberative, Developer, Discipline, Empathy, Focus, Futuristic, Harmony, Ideation, Includer, Individualisation, Input, Intellection, Learner, Maximizer, Positivity, Relator, Responsibility, Restorative, Self – Assurance, Significance, Strategic and Woo.

Okay Where Can I Take The Test

Well, the key to taking the strengths finder profile test is to buy the book. As on the inside back cover of the book is a concealed box that you scratch off to reveal your own personal identification code. Once you have the number you head off to their website and enter it in the appropriate place. By the way you cannot do your’s and then let brother and sister do their’s as it does not work that way. Brother and sister will have to buy their own copy and be armed with their own personal identification code if they are to find their potential strengths.

Once you are through the process you will receive paired statements from the profile of which you must give your instinctive answer. It’s the answer that comes to mind first as the key is to isolate your signature themes. There were occasions where I found that neither statement applied to me or both applied equally. When this occurs the neutral box should be clicked.

The Strengthsfinder Website

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After The Strengths Finder Profile Test

The final report will reveal in order from 1 – 5 (with 1 being the strongest), your 5 most dominant themes of talent. It is considered that number one dominant theme is your strongest out of the 5, but there really is very little in it and not too much importance should be placed on this. With the knowledge of your 5 dominant signature themes revealed you can then begin the journey of working on these both in a combined way and in a separate way to discovering your talents and turning them in to strengths.

These were my top 5 most dominant themes of talent In Reverse Order

Number 5: Discipline

Disciplined people are  those who need order in their lives. Quite often found setting up structure in the form of plans and routines. Work well to timelines and deadlines and break down long projects in to small one’s before tackling them. Not fond of surprises getting in the way of their routine and apply much attention to detail.

Number 4: Learner

These people love to learn, but are more than likely to be in love with the art of learning in itself than to become a complete expert / professor on the subject. Usually found skating around subjects learning masses in the short-term, before moving on to the next exciting venture.

Number 3: Self – Assurance

Similar as it were to self – confidence, but not just self-confidence. With self-assurance added to the mix it means that these people are confident in their own abilities and judgement. Apparently found to be un-moved by other people’s arguments once a decision has been made.

Number 2: Maximizer

These people are keen on maximizing strengths especially in the form of taking something that’s great and turning it into something that’s brilliant. Once a strength has been found maximizers tend to hone and nurture it. There’s no time for worrying about what they are not good at as they are too busy working on what they are good at. Productivity is key here.

Number 1: Focus

These people need a clear destination or life and work become meaningless. The key question is always where am I heading? Focus orientated people will set goals on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis to stay on track. Things are analysed in a way that if it’s not helping them reach their goals, then it’s not important. To be honest if it’s not important , it’s a complete waste of time.

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So those were the results in brief and to be quite honest I think the test pretty much nailed me. I believe it was very close to the mark. The only theme that I was not sure about was number 3 for self – assurance. I was just not certain that Self – Assurance would have been so far up on my list, but that’s what the results are telling me.

Discovering your dominating themes of talent is only the beginning of the procedure as next you must begin the process of adding knowledge and skills to the mix. The objective is to make your dominant themes of talent even stronger with the addition of knowledge and skills. With further honing of these talents you then begin the process of turning your talents in to strengths.

Other Ways To Discovering Your Talents

Marcus Buckingham and Donald O.Clifton also talk about finding your talents through your yearnings, rapid learning and your satisfactions.


Your yearnings are those callings you get that come quite often and are somewhat stronger than others. It would be wise to investigate these leads as there could well be something in them.

Rapid Learning

Take note of the skills that you pick up very quickly. It’s more than likely that talents are at work here. Whilst learning the task you pick it up at such speed it’s as if as you’ve been doing it all of your life.


This one is simple, but not to be ignored. If you are performing a task and it feels good, then there is a fair chance a talent is at play here. You are so immersed in the activity that you lost all track of time. Keep an eye out for these.

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Finding The Recipes

Success as they say leaves traces and the key is understanding what occurred during your past successes and satisfactions. What was the recipe as it were that was used to give you such successful and satisfying results. What were the main strengths that were identifiable during those processes. Think back to some of your more satisfying and productive outcomes and try to recreate these.

The answer lies in the  study of your strongest themes of talent and seeing how they can be combined to form your strengths. You are looking at being able to craft out your ideal role in life using some or perhaps all of your dominant signature themes. You may already unknown to you be working with your dominant themes of talent and all that is required for your happiness and success is a slight change. Below is an example Buckingham and O.Clifton give on page 137 of  ” Now Discover Your Strengths ”.

”For example if one of your signature themes is input, you may realise that although you read a great deal, you don’t discipline yourself to archive interesting articles and facts. So you decide to make a slight change in your weekly regimen. You create a clipping file and reread everything in it at least once a quarter. You quickly discover that with this wealth of information fresh in your mind you are more insightful, more helpful and more creative”

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I can see the logic in developing your talents and perhaps admitting my weaknesses will always be my weaknesses. Developing my dominant themes of talent seems far less over-whelming than trying to be jack of all trades. For instance there would be no use me developing my car mechanic skills as I have never had the slightest intention to look under the bonnet of a car. That is of course besides putting in water and oil. I know that if I were to take a car engine apart and put back together again there would be plenty of parts left over. It basically means that all parts fitted nicely in  the engine before, but  now perhaps 3 or 4 don’t fit. The best thing is that I leave it alone. I have no intentions of being a car mechanic, I have no love of performing the task and my time invested here could have been invested productively in my areas of specialty.

There can be nothing more powerful than doing the things you were naturally supposed to do and on a daily basis. There can be nothing more powerful than loving what you do on a daily basis. So find your dominant themes of talent, develop those talents in to strengths through skill and knowledge and build your life around your strengths..

The photos are from the Krisdadoi Resort in Chiang Mai, Thailand.


4 thoughts on “Build Your Life Around your Talents

  1. I enjoyed this one, Trevor. Thanks. You and I share many things, including a lack of auto mechanic aptitude and/or desire. In my case, both. I always liked a certain speaker that echoed these thoughts. His story was that he hated to do things around the house, like mend screen doors. He’d rather concentrate on his strengths and his likes and “manifest screen door repairers” into his life. That always made sense to me. Cheers.

  2. Thanks Kevin and superbly put,I agree entirely. On the car mechanic part mine is also a lack of aptitude and desire. However I do have a darn good mechanic and his charges are very reasonable. That suits me fine. Cheers Kevin.

  3. This book in interesting for me and I think the result of the test can describe about you as well. I have noticed the most of men have a good aptitude about car and machine…but you are not, same as in my case…the most of women have a good aptitude about cook…but I am not. I think it maybe because I am a lack of yearnings, rapid learning and satisfactions in it. Thank you very much for always share the very nice story here.

  4. A pleasure Bussaba. It’s certainly a good book for establishing a path for somebody who might not have been able to trace their talents yet. Afterwards is when the work begins of turning those talents in to strengths. Thank you Bussaba I am glad you enjoyed it.

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