Work Smarter, Not Harder

15 Jan

super_strength-512Spending Time on Strengths

Everyone is their own worst critic and we often have unrealistic expectations of ourselves. While we challenge those expectations in college, it’s important to keep it real and use our time in school wisely.

It’s hard for us to see a weakness in ourselves and accept it as is. This makes it very tempting to work harder on our room for improvement instead of maximizing our strengths.

To work smarter, not harder in college, we have to identify our strengths and focus our energy on developing them even further. Weaknesses will fill in and follow suit over time while you evolve as an individual.

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Finding your Strengths

We all want to succeed, that’s why we came to the U of A. We hear a lot about “following our passions” and “doing what we’re best at”, but how do we discover these things? How do we know when our passion has been ignited, or when we’ve found our niche?

It sounds like we should just stumble upon these hidden strengths and know them when we see them, but it’s not always so easy to pinpoint. One way of finding out about this is by looking at a challenge and your skills to meet it.

When a challenge presents itself, our response to that challenge tells us about our skills in that area. For me, just a few minutes of algebra problems are enough to remind me that math is a weakness of mine. On the other hand, ask me to draw you a picture and I’ll handle the task with a smile on my face. You might be a person who is very comfortable with math, but stressed out by creative demands. Stress is just an indicator of how we evaluate a challenge, and how we think our resources can meet it.

When it comes to school we can identify areas of strength and weakness in ourselves by monitoring the challenge level and the skill level we experience from different subjects.

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Getting in the “Flow”

According to the “Flow” model presented by positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, the ideal scenario is a high level of challenge met with a high skill level. According to this model, a person can perform at their best and achieve their highest under these conditions while experiencing fulfillment from the task. He adds that you must have clear goals, visible progress, frequent feedback, and confidence in your abilities.

Keeping track of your grades can help with setting clear goals and watching visible progress. Visit office hours for frequent feedback, and keep up the hard work for more confidence in your abilities!

-Amanda

 

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