Certified Bada$$

Have you ever heard of StrengthsQuest? It’s one of the most popular personality profiles this side of the Milky Way. My college required all incoming freshmen to take the personality test. Upon completion, you get a printout of your five most dominate strengths. The database consists of 34 unique strengths. They are….

* Achiever * Activator * Adaptability * Analytical * Arranger * Belief * Command * Communication * Competition * Connectedness * Consistency * Context * Deliberative * Developer * Discipline * Empathy * Focus * Futuristic * Harmony * Ideation * Includer * Individualization * Input * Intellection * Learner * Maximizer * Positivity * Relator * Responsibility * Restorative * Self-Assurance * Significance * Strategic * Woo

So like I mentioned, my freshmen year of college I took the test and here were my top 5 strengths (in no particular order)…

1) Responsibility

2) Activator

3) Competition

4) Futuristic

5) Maximizer

I’m convinced if Certified Bada$$ was a strength that would have been top of my list, possibly followed by Frugal Mother Lover. Don’t you agree?

For what it’s worth, I usually don’t put much value in what some “test” says my personality is like, but honestly, I think this was pretty darn accurate. Even you, strange creepy guy that’s reading my blog in your underwear, can probably see some of these qualities in my writing. I say this not because I think I’m totally awesome and you allĀ  should envy me, but because these five strengths are directly responsible for my financial success.

I most identify with the Futuristic tag. I remember walking out of Organic Chemistry one day while talking with one of my classmates. He said, “Ninja, how the heck do you have an A in this class,? It’s freakin’ hard.” I replied, “It’s simple. I work my butt off so I can get an A, cause if I get all A’s in college I will have better job prospects. If I have better job prospects, I’ll make more money. If I make more money, I can have a more comfortable life. If I have a more comfortable life, I have the freedom to do what I want, when I want.”

To me, failing even one O-chem test was not an option, because if I did, I thought it could seriously affect the rest of my life.

I think this also reigns true in my financial choices. In 2008, I entered the work force at $38,000/yr. Today my salary is $62,500/yr. Do you want to know how much my “cost of living” has gone up over those last two years? Zero. My rent, groceries, and entertainment expenses all remain the same as they did when I was making a lot less. I chose not to increase my standard of living during my raises ’cause I knew it would afford me better opportunities in the future. And so far it is paying off huge. I’ve paid down over $24,000 in student loan debt. I’ve invested $15,000 in my Roth IRA. And I’ve contributed $14,000 to my 401K. As each day passes, I’m becoming more and more financially free and it feels unbe-FREAKIN-lievable.

I have my five strengths written on a white board sitting above my desk. Every now and again I’ll look them over and make sure I am maximizing my potential in each specific area. If I’m not, than I only have myself to blame.

It’s probably important to address the fact that your specific strengths are not what is necessarily important, but more how you use them. No one strength is better than another.

So, reader, of the 34 strengths listed above, what do you think your top five would be?