© 2018 Strengths University

  • Anne

Normal Is An Illusion

Updated: Feb 27

“Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.” Charles Addams


Everyone sees the world through their talents. That means what we think of as “normal” is based on how those talents interpret and organize the world. Because our talents come to us so naturally, we assume that everyone else sees and reacts to the world in the same way. This can cause you to misunderstand the world in two significant ways:


First, you take your talents – or even worse, yourself – for granted. Since your talents come naturally to you, it’s easy to assume they’re not special. When you’re operating in your Strengths Zone, thinks feel almost effortless. Have you ever gotten a complement and thought to yourself, “That’s nice of them to say, but I don’t know why they’re so impressed…it was easy.” That’s because what is easy for you – both the way you think and how you perform – is often difficult for others.


Do not take your talents – or yourself – for granted. You have a unique set of talents that have the power to contribute incredible things to the world in a way that no one else can. You may not have mastered using all of your talents, but that’s to be expected. Understanding and refining your talents is a life-long process. The important thing is to identify and invest in your talents so you can turn them into Strengths. As you increase the knowledge and skills that support your talents and practice using them intentionally, the more productive you’ll become. That’s when you will bring more and more positive changes to your life and the world.


The second way you might misunderstand the world is taking others’ talents for granted. Since how you see and react to the world seems “normal” to you, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that your way is the right way to do things. When you see other people acting in accordance with their talents, you may wonder why they’re doing it “wrong.” The thing is, they’re simply reacting to the world they way that they see it through the lens of their talents. If you’re not careful, you can over value your talents and under value others’. When you assume your behaviors are the “normal,” it can create chaos for the people around you. Many conflicts and misunderstandings can happen when we assume that we’re normal, therefore everyone else must be wrong.


When everyone is focusing on their talents, each individual has the power to create excellence in those areas. That being said you need other’s perspectives and actions to balance out your Strengths. Your way of thinking is valuable, but it becomes even stronger when it’s paired with other people in your team (whether that team is at work or at home). Those differences are especially useful when it comes to getting things done. You’re great at somethings, but not everything. The same thing goes for everyone else. The more you can match tasks to talents the easier things become for everyone. Different perspectives, ways of thinking, and behaviors help create stronger outcomes. Remember to find and appreciate the value in other people’s talents.