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Poll: What Is Your Greatest Strength?

I’m good at a lot of things. Some of them I have earned, some I haven’t. But I’ve been sitting her for a while, trying to figure out exactly what I think my greatest strength is, and it’s really hard for me to do.

But if I had to choose–and now that I’ve written the title of this post, I’m telling myself I no longer have a choice–I would say that my greatest strength is this:

I don’t hate anyone. I certainly don’t love everyone either, but I really don’t think I hate anyone. Grudges and hatred sap potential and don’t lead to anything productive, unless we’re talking about Kill Bill level revenge.

How about you? You are good at a lot of things, whether you know it or not. What are you best at?


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  • Matthew Needham March 15, 2010, 12:56 am

    I think this is a difficult one to answer, because no one likes to brag. But if I had to say one thing, then it would be that I have the ability to see the big picture whilst at the same time understanding what needs to be done to get to the big picture.

    • Josh Hanagarne March 15, 2010, 10:59 am

      Wonderful. And it doesn’t sound like bragging at all.

  • Sid Savara March 15, 2010, 2:36 am

    Hey Josh,

    I am the most awesome RSS speed reader ever.

    I know all they keyboard shortcuts 😉

  • Sid Savara March 15, 2010, 3:00 am

    Oops! My comment got cut off =/

    So my point was that I read a lot, and synthesize lots of information from random places – and then I pull those together in my writing as well as stories when I meet people in person, not just on my blog

    I’m not as good as Seth Godin or Malcolm Gladwell, but those guys and their writing really speaks to me. Pulling examples from different people and finding patterns in all the data, that’s what I’m really good at.

    • Josh Hanagarne March 15, 2010, 10:58 am

      That’s really interesting. Several people have now mentioned being able to synthesize information. You should all get together and take over the world.

  • Conor March 15, 2010, 4:31 am

    Hey Josh,

    I would have to say: Knowing my weaknesses and not letting them dampen my strengths.


    • Robby G March 15, 2010, 7:15 am

      @Conor: I think that’s a really great and beneficial skill to have. Made me really think about my own weaknesses (or at least what I think they are–there may be more I don’t know of).
      I think a really great strength I have is being able to read people’s most subtle emotions. It comes to use often.

    • Josh Hanagarne March 15, 2010, 10:57 am


  • Todd March 15, 2010, 6:54 am

    This is a tough one, but I’ve been told that I’m a very giving person. Now, I don’t know about all of that, but I do what I can.

    • Josh Hanagarne March 15, 2010, 10:57 am

      If they’re saying it, don’t argue. there are not enough givers.

  • Joy Tanksley March 15, 2010, 7:12 am

    Classic job interview question! And always tough to answer. I think my greatest strength is that I’m totally invested in personal growth. I never settle for the status quo in my life.

    Side note – This made me think of a hilarious part from an episode of The office when David asks Michael about his greatest strength. Michael says, “Why don’t I tell you what my greatest weaknesses are? I work too hard. I care too much. And sometimes I can be too invested in my job.”

    • Hillary March 15, 2010, 8:46 am

      That is an awesome Office moment 😉

  • Jodi Kaplan March 15, 2010, 7:49 am

    Synthesis. I’m very good at taking disparate bits of information, from widely varying places, and merging them together into a coherent whole.

    @Joy, whenever anyone asked me my greatest weakness in a job interview, I always wanted to say something like, “chocolate chip cookies.”

    • Joy Tanksley March 15, 2010, 8:59 am

      I hear you! HA!

    • Josh Hanagarne March 15, 2010, 10:56 am

      I hope you’re getting paid what you’re worth. Analytic and critical thinking are vanishing quickly.

  • ami March 15, 2010, 8:45 am

    hehe, love the job interview angles.

    I love to learn stuff – and, when I’m interested/passionate about an activity, I can become competent (not claiming mastery of anything) quicker than the average bear.

    • Josh Hanagarne March 15, 2010, 10:55 am

      What’s the most recent thing that you got passionate about?

      • ami March 15, 2010, 12:25 pm

        writing! and photography! knitting! (uhhhhhh, I’m a bit distractable, too – hey look, pretty shiny thingy . . . )

  • Srinivas Rao March 15, 2010, 8:47 am

    My strength is in talking to people or public speaking, hence the reason I do so many interviews 🙂

    • Josh Hanagarne March 15, 2010, 10:55 am

      Wrong. Your strength is that dashing avatar.

  • Hillary March 15, 2010, 8:49 am

    I’m also big picture visionary type of person which really helps in day to day life. Spilled milk and parking tickets can’t touch me b/c in the big picture they look so small. I tend not to worry about much trusting that life regulates–smoothes itself out.

    A challenge of this is taking the big picture and breaking it into every day smaller steps to actualize my future visions.

    • Josh Hanagarne March 15, 2010, 10:55 am

      I don’t know if there’s any quality that cold be more useful. This is one that I’m not as consistent with as I’d like to be.

  • Dan Cosgrove March 15, 2010, 8:50 am

    For me, I think it’s having a photographic memory for movies.

    After working at 6 video stores: King Video, Showtime Video (and Rowe’s appliances, figure that out), Jumbo Video, Blockbuster Video, Jumbo Video (different location), Blockbuster (different location), I’ve seen over 5 000 flicks, and even though I seldom watch anything more than once, I can pull out little facts, and usually do in conversation/blogging.

    An actual conversation during the Oscars:

    “Hey Dan, you remember that movie Dahmer?”
    “Yeah, I saw it once. it was pretty…” My brain does a cross reference of images.. or something.. “Holy crap, Dahmer was the guy in The Hurt Locker!”
    “Umm.. yeah, that’s what I was going to say. You suck.”

    My dad bought me Scene It for Christmas, and after the first game we had to create a bunch of handicaps in order to get people to keep playing with me.

    The yin to that yang though:

    I had to carry a piece of paper with my new address and phone number for SIX MONTHS after moving.

    • Josh Hanagarne March 15, 2010, 10:54 am

      Dan, that’s awesome. I’m not as formidable as you, but I did work at Blockbuster and I can still sing the My Little Pony movie theme song, which I haven’t heard in nearly 25 years.

      • Dan Cosgrove March 15, 2010, 1:46 pm

        Oh geez, I know! For me, it was Rolie Polie Olie.

  • Darryl Lardizabal March 15, 2010, 10:12 am

    My greatest strength is forming connections between unlikely pieces of information – maybe this is the real nature of creativity and intuition? Not just for me, but other people. If so, than they are something trainable, just like anything else.

    • Josh Hanagarne March 15, 2010, 10:13 am

      Darryl, I think you might be onto something there.

  • Ryan G March 15, 2010, 10:43 am

    My Greatest Strength: disarming and confusing; in other words, approachable BS. Solves so many problems when you can convince people that their two ideas are actually the same thing and nobody leaves hurt. Even better when you get paid to do it.

    Regarding your message above, I agree 100% that hatred is often wasted. We’ve all had hardships in our lives and in our families, but my mother always said that to really “hate” something was too strong of an emotion to live with. You’ll become consumed by the hatred while your enemy is still just the same as they were before.

  • Frankie March 15, 2010, 10:55 am

    Being quoteworthy. : )

  • Michelle @ Following Your Joy March 15, 2010, 1:01 pm

    Hi Josh and thanks for posing this important question to us…and answering it yourself. So much of my coaching work is focused around “strengths” and what we’re good at. The more we all capitalize on ‘who we are’ at the core, the more the world benefits.

    I’m best at “being” with people; really being present in the moment with them, feeling their energy, hearing their story, and “getting” them…even if I can’t personally relate. Guess that’s what makes me a good coach. 🙂

    There, that felt good. Thanks!

  • Marty Lotspeich March 15, 2010, 1:25 pm

    My greatest strength: my ability to change my belief systems at necessity.

    I find incredible freedom in knowing that when reality proves my beliefs wrong I can always change my beliefs to be right with my reality.

    • Josh Hanagarne March 15, 2010, 1:30 pm

      MARTY. I’ve been told that you’re the guy to discuss RA Wilson with. I cannot wait to meet you.

  • Kira March 15, 2010, 2:43 pm

    I’ve learned how to find joy in everything I do … i.e. My happiness is my greatest strength 🙂

    • Josh Hanagarne March 15, 2010, 2:53 pm

      Having “known” you for about a year now, I’m not at all surprised to hear you say that. Glad you’re here!

  • Susan Giurleo March 15, 2010, 3:30 pm

    Accepting others for who they are and focusing on their strengths, rather than weaknesses. I may not like everyone I meet, but I accept who they are and don’t try to change them. In my work with kids with Asperger’s syndrome this strength is a vision I try to pass on to parents, teachers and other adults.
    Don’t try to CHANGE a child, accept him for who he is, quirks and all. Look at what he is good at and capitalize on that.

  • Eric | Eden Journal March 15, 2010, 7:50 pm

    My greatest strength is my positive attitude. I always look to the bright side. It’s helped me weather some storms and makes everyday a great day. Many mornings I’ll clap my hands and say, “It’s going to be a great day.” This sets my tone for the whole day. Even when I’m sick, I won’t say, “I’m sick.” Rather, I say, “I’m getting better.”

  • Adam March 16, 2010, 12:38 am

    I can crank call Johnny Deps phone at 3am, and he doesnt even get pissed about it….and of course superhuman awesomeness.

  • Jennifer le Roux March 16, 2010, 9:14 am

    I can make people laugh, and feel comfortable around me.

  • Sanu March 18, 2010, 1:00 pm

    I m very good at solving problems of others,thats what everyone say about me after my suggestion.but I tend to confuse in very small things. Please help me how to choose a career(as I am a teen) Once a famous indian saint said,we all have our aims in a cell within ourselves.we just have to search and figure it out.but I dont know how to do it.please help me.i know you will come up with something.thanks in advance.Dhanyavad(thanks in hindi)