VIA Blog - Stories to inspire and resources to motivate.

Be More with Less

April 19, 2014 by ·

spring cleaningHere in the Midwest we are beginning to sweep the dead winter leaves from the front porch, hear the chirping birds in the morning, and notice colorful blooms on the trees and flowerbeds—spring has arrived! It is also a time that we dust forgotten corners, declutter and get organized. I began my spring cleaning session this past weekend and in the process came across an unexpected item that encouraged me to make a change…

As I was tackling the kitchen cabinets—spending far too long looking for lids to the Tupperware containers—I came across my food processor sitting solemnly in the lower back corner of the bottom shelf. I know at some point I was enchanted by the idea of this chopper/dicer/shredder in one. How easy it would be to make my own salsa and chop vegetables if I just had that kitchen gadget! But, like many possessions, over time, the novelty faded and now it mostly just collects dust and takes up space.

I pulled the machine from the cupboard, placed it in a box for donation, and decided for the next few months I would challenge myself to focus less on stuff and more on experiences that allow me to use my signature strengths of love, zest, teamwork and kindness. I want to invite you to challenge yourself as well to spend your time and money, not on acquiring things, but instead on doing things that activate your strengths. (Purchase your VIA Pro Report to learn even more about your unique signature strengths). Research has shown that experiences provide more long-term happiness than material possessions because the happy memories of the experience stay with us long after the event.

Here are some suggestions for planning an experience around strengths:

  • Bravery– tour the local fire or police station. Thank the firefighters and officers for their service and listen to their amazing stories of courage!
  • Curiosity– explore your own town or city. Research a nearby neighborhood that you have never visited by browsing the Internet
    and asking other people for recommendations in the area. Plan a day to drive there and spend time experiencing the new area either by yourself or with others.
  • Teamwork– plan a B.Y.O.E. (Bring Your Own Everything) night with friends. You can provide the space and then allow everyone to sign up to bring a dish, dessert or activity to the party.
  • Creativity– start a project. Instead of buying a new chair or end table for the living room go to a thrift store or flea market and get one that you can rehab.
  • Love– treat your best friend to lunch or dinner. Plan a day to meet at your favorite restaurant and talk, laugh and enjoy being together.

Do you have an activity that you have tried recently that activated one of your strengths? If so, share it on your Facebook page and tag: @VIA Institute on Character

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