Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ghost Town

Not too many experiences are more exciting for a staunch New Englander than to stumble upon a genuine 19th century "ghost town" in the Western states. Randsburg, a 'living' ghost town in Kern County, California, is such a place. Though somewhat a cheesy tourist trap, the main street in town has 1890's style buildings straight out of a Western film.

One can easily imagine horses once being tied to posts, saloon doors swinging open, ragtime music playing in the background,  and drunk men fighting. You also get the feeling that you're eating dirt as you walk around --mighty satisfactory. 

Trish and I had the pleasure of visiting the General Store, the only building open on a Thursday. Inside it was dark and delightfully cool. The town only bothers to open stores on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, since hardly anybody visits on weekdays. We were very happy to be the only visitors. The General Store boasts a 100 year old soda fountain, and a massive bar with stools. I tried a 'black cow,' which was delicious.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Signature Strengths Revisited

Going back to the Signature Strengths post I wrote on 11/11/2011, I found a categorized list which I like. It helps you to quickly zero in on your areas of strength. Remember, you can take the signature strength test on the Authentic Happiness website. 

Strengths of Wisdom and Knowledge:  

1. Creativity [originality, ingenuity]: Thinking of novel and productive ways to conceptualize and do things. 

2. Curiosity [interest, novelty-seeking, openness to experience]: Taking an interest in ongoing experience for its own sake; exploring and discovering.

3. Open-mindedness [judgment, critical thinking]: Thinking things through and examining them from all sides; weighing all evidence fairly.

4. Love of learning: Mastering new skills, topics, and bodies of knowledge, whether on one's own or formally.

5. Perspective [wisdom]: Being able to provide wise counsel to others; having ways of looking at the world that make sense to oneself and to other people.

Strengths of Courage

6. Bravery [valor]: Not shrinking from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain; acting on convictions even if unpopular.

7. Persistence [perseverance, industriousness]: Finishing what one starts; persisting in a course of action in spite of obstacles.

8. Integrity [authenticity, honesty]: Presenting oneself in a genuine way; taking responsibility for one's feeling and actions.

9. Vitality [zest, enthusiasm, vigor, energy]: Approaching life with excitement and energy; feeling alive and activated.

Strengths of Humanity: interpersonal strengths that involve tending and befriending others

10. Love: Valuing close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated.

11. Kindness [generosity, nurturance, care, compassion, altruistic love, "niceness"]: Doing favors and good deeds for others.

12. Social intelligence [emotional intelligence, personal intelligence]: Being aware of the motives and feelings of other people and oneself.

Strengths of Justice:

13. Citizenship [social responsibility, loyalty, teamwork]: Working well as a member of a group or team; being loyal to the group.

14. Fairness: Treating all people the same according to notions of fairness and justice; not letting personal feelings bias decisions about others.

15. Leadership: Encouraging a group of which one is a member to get things done and at the same maintain time good relations within the group.

Strengths of Temperance: strengths that protect against excess

16. Forgiveness and mercy: Forgiving those who have done wrong; accepting the shortcomings of others; giving people a second chance; not being vengeful.

17. Humility / Modesty: Letting one's accomplishments speak for themselves; not regarding oneself as more special than one is.

18. Prudence: Being careful about one's choices; not taking undue risks; not saying or doing things that might later be regretted.

19. Self-regulation [self-control]: Regulating what one feels and does; being disciplined; controlling one's appetites and emotions.

Strengths of Transcendence: strengths that forge connections to the larger universe and provide meaning

20. Appreciation of beauty and excellence [awe, wonder, elevation]: Appreciating beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in various domains of life.

21. Gratitude: Being aware of and thankful of the good things that happen; taking time to express thanks.

22. Hope [optimism, future-mindedness, future orientation]: Expecting the best in the future and working to achieve it.

23. Humor [playfulness]: Liking to laugh and tease; bringing smiles to other people; seeing the light side.

24. Spirituality [religiousness, faith, purpose]: Having coherent beliefs about the higher purpose, the meaning of life, and the meaning of the universe.