Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Where My Mind Wandered (this week)


A few years ago I took an assessment from Gallup called StrengthsFinder 2.0. The point was to reveal my top five strengths, or areas where I'm naturally talented. I took plenty of other assessments throughout high school and college, but they generally pointed out areas of deficiency where I needed improvement. StrengthsFinder turned that on its head, instead showing what you are best at and how to use those talents to be more productive and better at what you do!

My top strength was Input, which means I'm inquisitive (super curious), and tend to collect things. My house is jam packed with meaningful items from our travels, every single one with a story to tell. I can never have just one of something. If I read a book by an author I like, I am compelled to read every other book they've written, and I read A LOT.
Photo of a wall in my house:
If your home looks like this, Input might
be one of your top 5 strengths...
I also collect information, ravenously and unapologetically. My Shanghai friend Leslie used to tell her kids, "Don't bother with Google, just ask Auntie Heather." I constantly want to know what and why and where. I'm an introvert, but my insatiable curiosity about the world means I will absolutely march up to a random guy on the street in Wan Chai wearing a sweatshirt with latitude and longitude coordinates on it and ask him where the coordinates lead to (FYI a ski resort in Japan, the sweatshirt purchased as a gift from his girlfriend because she thought it was a meaningful holiday they shared there. The way he sorta shrugged led me to believe it may have been more meaningful to her than him).

Getting a smartphone was the absolute best thing for me because this insatiable inquisitive nature which has been with me my entire life could be satisfied right on the spot thanks to the phone in my pocket (and a good wifi connection). I have to limit how many TED talks I watch, and people have called me intense because I need to know so much. My parents owned a huge encyclopedia set when I was growing up, and I wasn't allowed to ask questions unless I could prove that what I wanted to know wasn't in the encyclopedia (smart, probably very weary, parents I had!).

The downside of Input as a strength is sometimes other people simply aren't as interested in the things I find fascinating (and if you know me in real life, it's not an act, I'm not just being polite: I find pretty much everything fascinating). I try very hard not to just spew "interesting" facts or overwhelm people with knowledge when they simply want a short, sweet answer about why the fire hydrants are painted purple in Fantasyland at Hong Kong Disneyland (to blend with the color scheme and not jolt you out of the realm of fantasy). But at the same time, I keep finding somewhat obscure information I want to share with the whole world!

I've decided to just do a weekly post where I gather the top five (or so) things which grab my fancy during the week. Dive down the rabbit hole of information at your own risk! And if you come across something interesting, do share!

1. Queen Mary's Dollhouse. I never wanted a dollhouse as a kid, and never had one. But I just came across the royal dollhouse gifted to Queen Mary that had actual books by real authors, running water, a working elevator, and even real wine in tiny bottles in the cellar. Maybe if this had been an option for me growing up, I might have wanted a dollhouse! See the dollhouse here and read about one of the actual books written for the dollhouse library here.

2. My fellow ginger-haired friend Steph was recently lamenting her childhood as a redhead in a house (and town!) filled with blondes and brunettes. It was the first (and sometimes only) thing people noticed about her, and it was rarely to compliment her. I told her that less than 2% of the entire world's population (under 150 million people) have red hair, so of course it's something people take note of. I also told her how in the Disney universe, redheads are very popular, they make up much more of than 2% of the animated Disney world. I have this article from 2012 saved on my computer because I find it so fascinating that Disney and Pixar have both frequently used red hair to visually tell us more about a character.

3. Here's a time when the use of social media resulted in finding out the name of the only woman, and only unidentified person, in a photo of 38 scientists.

4. And speaking of science, this article talks about why a degree or background in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) is no longer the most important thing Google looks for when hiring someone. Empathy matters, y'all.

5. And finally, come awards season my social media is filled with people talking about who wore what. People might say, "I just love [insert celebrity's name here], she has so much style!" But did you ever wonder about how they get their style? I loved this round table of stylists talking about their role in getting clothes from designers to the red carpet (and how tricky it was to find heaps of black gowns for the Golden Globes at the last minute for Time's Up).

There's more where that came from, but I'll stop here for this week! Have a great one!

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