Media personality Jade Seah uses her energy to build her positive strengths instead of fixing her weaknesses.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

As kids, some of us were taught to work on our weaknesses. I had Chinese tuition because I struggled with the language. I was told by netball coaches to build strength and bulk so that my smaller frame would be “sturdier” on court against bigger built players.

I was advised by my hairstylists to have bangs, and I wore this look throughout my childhood (and much of my adulthood) to minimise my high forehead. There is a lot of talk about self-love and self-care in the pursuit of happiness, but it seems that feeling good about ourselves is a huge factor in contributing to our happiness.

My studies in the science of positive psychology has taught me that one easy, practical way to make up for our shortcomings is to maximise our strengths. If you want a more scientific method to know what your strengths are, take a free Values in Action (VIA) online test. It will help you uncover your top strengths out of 24 universal ones. Pay attention to the top 10 on that list!

From the test, I found that my top strength is zest, with the strengths of curiosity and love of learning being high on the list. The lowest on the list is prudence. Instead of focusing energy on being more careful, detailed and prudent, a way to feel happier is to choose work, hobbies and social activities over it. That would allow me to use these top strengths.

My work as a presenter, media consultant and content creator allows me to exercise the strength of zest. It is described as approaching life with excitement and energy – and not doing things half-heartedly.

I’m fully engaged when presenting to an audience or before a camera. I get excited about the rapid changes in the media landscape, and I love researching, learning and creating content that I’m passionate about. In my free time, I enjoy extreme sports, which requires my full attention and engagement.

Instead of beating myself up about being a little scatterbrained at times, learning about my strengths has taught me to shift the emphasis to the things I do well instead. I hope you will take note of your top strengths, and make a conscious decision to celebrating them, instead of wasting precious energy trying to “fix” the areas that you are weak in. I’m quite sure this shift will help you live your best and happiest life.