What is strength? If you look in a dictionary, you’ll find a variety of descriptions, ranging from physical fortitude to mental or moral power. Simple definitions are simply impossible to construct but I like two distinct approaches.
How Do You Measure Strength?
If you’re a foodie you can measure the strength of flavours by concentration. The more intense, the stronger the flavour. Imagine a chef adding spoonfuls of hot chilli pepper. The art is in knowing when to stop.
If you’re a financier, you might be more used to defining strength in currencies as their ability to remain firm in price. Picture the stock market ticker-tape showing your currency in a time of national crisis. If the price doesn’t fluctuate much, it’s said to be strong.
I like to use these two methods for describing human strength. We are a remarkable species. Even when you take us out of context and we have the capacity to remain true to ourselves. Consider Nelson Mandela (UK Amazon link) (US Amazon link), incarcerated on Robben Island for 27 years, yet still able to keep his principles undiluted. Even when you place people into the most horrific situations, we are capable of remaining true to our moral compass. Consider Victor Frankl (UK Amazon link) (US Amazon link), the concentration camp survivor who spent the rest of his life teaching people about the importance of happiness.
A Thousand Tiny Strengths
But ultimately, strength is most often demonstrated in little ways: holding firm when your child asks for sweets that would damage her teeth; not snapping back when you feel annoyed because you know that it will only end in argument; being able to resist that slice of chocolate cake, even though it looks delicious.
Celebrate Your Tiny Strengths
It’s always worth taking time to celebrate the little strengths we display every day. Because it’s the the constant tiny victories that make us who we are and the thousands of tiny defeats that break us in the end. Celebrate your tiny strengths and celebrate those of your friends as well.
The Next Step
Today, take a minute to praise a friend, colleague or relative for exercising a tiny strength. If they hold true to their beliefs or refuse to let the negative attitudes around them dilute their own positive one, they deserve to be noticed. And so do yours.