Be More with Less

By Kelly Aluise

Welcoming the New Season

Here in the Midwest we are beginning to sweep the winter leaves from the front porch, hear birds chirping in the morning, and notice colorful blooms on the trees and flowerbeds — spring has arrived! And compared to last year, this season is bringing hope.

It is also a time that we 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 on 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 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.

A Fresh Perspective

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. It's been a long 12 months of being mostly stuck at home, and while things aren't completely back to normal, I know there are opportunities to use more of my strengths with everyday experiences.

Your Challenge

I also want to challenge YOU to consider how you might spend your time and money not on acquiring things, but instead on doing things that activate your strengths. Your personalized Total 24 Report can provide suggestions tailored to your strengths. Why do this? Research shows that experiences provide more long-term happiness than material possessions because the happy memories of the experience stay with us long after the event. Plus, linking the event to your unique strengths ensures that it will be personally fulfilling for you.

Creating Strengths-Based Experiences

Here are some suggestions for planning an experience around the 5 strengths under the virtue category of Wisdom:

  • Curiosity - Explore a new place in 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 walking around and experiencing the area.
  • 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.
  • Judgment - Try an activity, workout or food that puts you our of your comfort zone. Keep an open-mind as you explore this new experience and reflect on what you like and don't like about it.
  • Love of Learning - Consider your favorite subject matter or hobby and learn as many new things about it as possible. Search the Internet, ask people questions on the topic and research more at the library or book store.
  • Perspective - Meet a friend at the park and ask sincerely how they are doing. Listen carefully and, if appropriate, share your ideas, support and advice.

Dive Deeper with a VIA Report

After you complete the VIA Survey, learn how to activate your character strengths to improve relationships, boost confidence, manage challenges and live a happier life with a personalized VIA Report.

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