My Strengths. My Quest. My Happiness.

My Strengths. My Quest. My Happiness.

Growing up, I had a plan. At a young age, I had conjured a future that was bright and elaborately decorated with success. Everything seemed so simple, I plain forgot that rarely anything in real life goes according to plan.

As a logistical thinker with a penchant for planning and a love of Post-It notes, it’s a constant struggle, knowing in the back of your mind that things probably won’t turn out the way you want them to, yet hanging on to the optimism that anything is possible if you work hard enough at it. According to a StrengthsQuest test, I am good at being an “achiever.” This means that, in planning my life, I failed to anticipate needing time to relax and be happy, because I was too focused on fitting everything I wanted to achieve into the little squares on my calendar. Their customized report listed my top five “talent themes,” along with “action items for development” and gave me suggestions for maximize my talents “to achieve academic, career, and personal success.” Their popular online assessment, called the Clifton StrengthsFinder was designed by the famous polling company, Gallup. The site claims to have helped more than 12 million people around the world “discover their talents.”

Several days ago, I gave myself the afternoon off and walked about a mile down Sheridan—to the beach. I felt at peace there. It was a refreshing, and pretty badly needed, mental break. I realized how easy it is to get wrapped up in trying to force your life to go in “right” direction. My conclusion? Things usually start going the way you want them to when you give up and stop trying, when you learn to see beauty in imperfection, when you finally “let it go” and start enjoying the challenge of navigating a path wrought with little hiccups along the way.

Yes, life is sometimes a chaotic mess, yet I still love trying to plan it out, knowing curve balls will be thrown my way, making everything a little more unpredictable and interesting.

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