books and reading · culture/multiculturalism · happiness · Jews/Jewish/Judaism/Orthodox Judaism · New York · strengths · writing

Scheduling Myself Happy

I had been kicking myself about the fact I have no schedule when I finally realized, I do have one, it’s just that I don’t like it. I can’t seem to tear myself away from the computer and work and intermittent instant messaging, emailing and Twittering when I need to be at the gym or on the exercise bike. Don’t even get me started on how I need to finish 350 pages of “American Judaism” by Sunday.

My therapist (that my friend Jon says I don’t need) asked me to take the VIA Signature Strengths Questionnaire to help me figure out how to coordinate a schedule that would incorporate my strengths. The key to happiness apparently is ensuring that you exercise as many of your strengths as you can on a daily basis. I learned a lot about myself and my goals (or lack there of) after reviewing the results of the test.

Here were my results:

Your Top Strength


You excel at the tasks of leadership: encouraging a group to get things done and preserving harmony within the group by making everyone feel included. You do a good job organizing activities and seeing that they happen.

(Probably not exercising this strength enough though I used quite a bit of it as a teacher. No wonder I loved teaching so much! I don’t think antagonizing my little sister now to clean my bathroom counts. But perhaps moderating a group for converts does. I’m much better at leading and motivating other people than I am at motivating myself.)

Your Second Strength

Curiosity and interest in the world

You are curious about everything. You are always asking questions, and you find all subjects and topics fascinating. You like exploration and discovery.

(This explains why I can’t seem to stop reading. I’ll read anything. I’m reading “Dragon’s Breath”, a children’s book about a frog princess right now in-between chapters of “American Judaism” and the New York Times and blogs.)

Your Third Strength

Capacity to love and be loved

You value close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated. The people to whom you feel most close are the same people who feel most close to you.

(Working from home does not help me exercise this strength as much though I do feel that I’m connecting with many people online and even–gulp, social anxiety alert–over the phone. I’ve been working on taking breaks from writing and toiling away at my desk by having little meetings around the city with friends.)

Your Fourth Strength

Fairness, equity, and justice

Treating all people fairly is one of your abiding principles. You do not let your personal feelings bias your decisions about other people. You give everyone a chance.

(Really? Aww shucks. )

Your Fifth Strength

Honesty, authenticity, and genuineness

You are an honest person, not only by speaking the truth but by living your life in a genuine and authentic way. You are down to earth and without pretense; you are a “real” person.

(This is probably one of the biggest strengths I use when I’m writing. But it gets me in trouble dealing with people on a day to day basis. I seem to suffer from something I call foot-in-mouth disease. My husband hopes it’s not terminal.)

If you find the time to take the test, let me know what your strengths are! Don’t even get me started on the weaknesses.

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