If you had to name your personal strengths, what terms would you come up with? In The Strengths Book: Be Confident, Be Successful, and Enjoy Better Relationships by Realising the Best of You, authors Alex Linley, Janet Willars, and Robert Biswas-Diener (2010) identify sixty unique strengths that you can use to create a better life and improve relationships. They include such wide-ranging strengths as action, adventure, authenticity, compassion, connection, courage, detail, humility, innovation, listening, persistence, planning, self-awareness, service, and work ethic. In addition to those fifteen strengths, let's add an equal number that aren't in the book: being accepting, accessible, charismatic, collaborative, contemplative, energetic, faithful, generous, hospitable, loyal, passionate, playful, practical, questioning, and spiritual. Use this list of thirty strengths as a starting point. (I hope that gratitude or gratefulness makes your list!) Start now. . . .

1. Get a sheet of paper and write "My Strengths" at the top. Give yourself five minutes to write down as many of your strengths as you can name. As you make your list, keep in mind that this is not a time for humility (even if that is one of your strengths)! Remember that pride is also a strength. That's because it pushes you to strive for the best, in addition to improving the quality of all that you do. Be generous and honest (another possible strength) as you consider what to include on your list.

2. Think about the strengths of friends, and see if you don't also possess these qualities.

3. When you think you have hit a wall and can't come up with any more strengths, set a goal of adding five new ones.

When you're done, give yourself an A+ just for trying this exercise.

Donald Altman in The Joy Compass: 8 Ways to Find Lasting Happiness, Gratitude & Optimism in the Present Moment