Ask Jonathan: mavens, ideas and signature strengths

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ask jonathan fields

Here’s the latest round-up of responses to a handful of questions that have come my way through the Ask Jonathan box over on the right…

Q: What sort of writing do you do when you’re not blogging? Also, where do you get your inspiration and information from?

A: My writing is split into three major pursuits. One is blogging. Two is books and articles for print (magazines and newspapers). And, three is direct-response copywriting, which is quickly becoming a major passion of mine.

They are all very different, but, they also inform and enhance each other in a major way. For sure, my copywriting abilities have made a huge difference in anything I write with a persuasive bent.

My biggest inspiration is what happens in my daily life. I draw from my own experience as a husband, a dad, an entrepreneur, a yoga-teacher and someone who’s genetically programmed to seek information (more on that below).

I also read 200-300 other blog feeds every day (okay, I scan them) and spend a chunk of time in contemplation or meditation. In fact, my best ideas for writing and business inevitably arise when I’ve stopped trying so hard and created space to just chill out a bit.

Q: How do you know so much about so many things?

A: Ha ha ha ha! Um. Ha ha ha ha! I really have to laugh at this one, because I’ve always felt like I am on the slow side of the learning curve.

This question came as quite a surprise, since I’ve always considered myself the guy know knows a smattering about a lot of different topics, but a whole lot about very few areas. Plus, whatever I do know seems to get relentlessly obsoleted in the blink of an eye. Here’s my secret, though.

University Of Pennsylvania Professor Martin Seligman, who also wrote the bestselling book Authentic Happiness, identified 24 signature strengths we all have in varying levels. When we pursue those we hold dearest, he said, we are happiest. You can actually take the online Signature Strengths Questionnaire that will reveal your top-5 signature strengths.

My top-5 included intellectual curiosity, problem-solving and a love of learning. So, for me, learning new things literally makes me come alive. It’s my other chocolate. The more I learn, the happier I get. It fuels me to discover ever more bits of information and leads me eventually rambling down the road to mavenhood. And, because I also have a strong desire to share, I end up wanting to teach whatever I have learned to whoever will listen.

So, it’s easy for me, because that’s what I live and breath. Knowing this has also let me build a career around this quality. I also know that, for many other people with very different signature strengths, acquiring knowledge can be much more of a fight.

Q: For a while there was an icon promoting a video interview you were going to do with the owner of Candle Cafe – what ever happened to that? I kept checking back to see it and never did.

A: Yeah, I pulled that down when I launch the revised blog design, largely because I’ve been so swamped finishing my book, I knew I wouldn’t have time to sit down with Joy for a while. She’s actually a friend of my wife and I, so I plan on launching a small-business innovator interview series in the next few months and I’ll come back to her for a chat over a yummy vegan lunch.

Though, truth be told, it will very likely be part of my upcoming blog or my small business and marketing blog. More on those in a bit.

If you have any questions on anything I write about, please feel free to ask, usig the Ask Jonathan box to the right.

And, here’s a fun challenge to do and share over the weekend, go take Seligman’s Signature Strengths Questionnaire, then…

Come back here and share your top-5 signature strengths in the comments below…

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7 responses

7 responses to “Ask Jonathan: mavens, ideas and signature strengths”

  1. Julie says:

    My top five:

    1. Love of learning
    2. Capacity to love and be loved
    3. Judgement, critical thinking, and open-mindedness
    4. Curiosity and interest in the world
    5. Humor and playfulness

    So, in short, I like learning new things (whether from books or from the world), thinking them through, and using them to help people and make them laugh.

    Somehow, I suspect I could have told you that before. It definitely fits my personality!

  2. Shama Hyder says:

    Cool test!

    1) Capacity to love and be loved
    2) Gratitude
    3) Love of Learning
    4) Spirituality, sense of purpose and faith
    5) Hope, optimism, and future mindedness

  3. Lisa Benner says:

    I did the signature strengths questionnaire during the Career Renegade Bootcamp inaugural weekend! Here are my top 5:

    1. gratitude
    2. kindness & generosity
    3. judgment, critical thinking and open-mindedness
    4. spirituality, sense of purpose & faith
    5. appreciation of beauty & excellence

  4. 1. Argument. (I’m not very good online, but in the real world I lay down the smack.)
    2. Stepping up.
    3. Dancing. (Salsa? Yes. Hip Hop? You betcha. Industrial? I own it. Techno? Top 40? Yes and yes.)
    4. Soup making. (I can take leftovers from any frisge in the world and create an amazing, delicious soup. Don’t hate.)

    And most importantly,

    5. Marriage. I am completely and 100% committed to my spouse and our marriage, which is apparently how I got the ‘no-commitment’ guy to commit and love it. We live in the nexus (Start Trek reference to a place of absolute bliss and happiness)and cherish each other every day.

    But I don’t mess around. Vigilence! You can’t just assume stuff will be awesome forever just because.

    This is the first family I’ve ever really had and I will let nothing take it down, not even me. So I put ‘skill’ #1 on the side and only take it out for emergencies. Even though he is a decade older, I don’t assume that he can just take anything I decide to dish out.

    Being married is not about winning or making myself feel better at the expense of my Beloved. It’s not me v. him, it’s us v. everybody else.

    Luckily I don’t have to think about it all that often and we can just spend our days being sickeningly adorable.

  5. As for weaknesses, not reading things thoroughly. Garg! Sorry Jonathan.

    (And speaking of deleting posts…)

  6. Interesting…
    1. Fairness, equality, justice
    2. Critical thinking, judgment
    3. Love of learning
    4. Social intelligence
    5. bravery and valor

    #1-4 I already knew and really mirror Jung personality tests I have taken

    #5 surprised me

  7. 200-300 blog feeds every day? Wow! I still can’t imagine myself handle so many feeds, even if I just scan them. You’re almost like Scoble 🙂