In 2009 I attended a seminar that introduced me to the concept of strong suits. Strong suits are a person’s three primary ways of being. They are how a person behaves the majority of the time. They are a person’s default way of being.
Strong suits are a good thing. They allow a person to succeed in life. The majority of a person’s success comes from behaving in one of these three primary ways. And, success comes effortlessly as this behavior is programmed into a person’s core being.
According to Landmark Education’s theory of strong suits, the following are always true:
- There are always and only three (not 2 and not 4 or 5).
- A person develops their strong suits at three distinct stages of their early life (child, teen, young adult).
- Each strong suit results as a response to some traumatic life event.
- The strong suit is adopted as an answer to the traumatic event (in the hope of preventing a recurrence of that type of event in the future).
- Once a strong suit develops, it’s fixed. It does not change.
- While the original decision to ‘be’ a certain way is indeed an individual’s choice, it occurs on a subconscious or instinctual level.
- Because a strong suit is adopted as a result of a traumatic event (i.e. something emotionally painful), then the event and adoption of the strong suit become deeply buried in the subconscious.
- The person is consciously unaware that they are behaving in this manner. They’re on autopilot.
- The original reason for the strong suits adoption (i.e. traumatic event) is mostly forgotten. They are blind to it. Landmark refers to it as a blind spot.
As I mentioned, strong suits are a good thing. Our success in life comes from us behaving the majority of the time in one of our three ways of being.
Here is the negative:
- While strong suits serve us well most of the time, they don’t serve us in all situations.
- Let’s assume they work 60 to 70 to 80 percent of the time, that means they aren’t working 20 to 30 to 40 percent of the time.
- Landmark’s theory is that any time a person is frustrated, angry, annoyed, bitter, impatient, and so forth, it’s because they are trying to behave in one (or more) of their strong suits and it’s not working. They are not getting what they want.
- When a person is blind to all of this, they don’t have the option to behave differently.
- Since the strong suits occur on a subconscious level, a person doesn’t know why they are having success or why they are frustrated, angry, annoyed, etc.
Here is Landmark’s solution:
- Become aware of each of your strong suits.
- Discover each strong suit by identifying the original traumatic event and the story surrounding that event.
Two benefits will result:
- You’ll be aware of your three strong suits. You’ll have the option of behaving differently in situations where one of your strong suits is inappropriate. You’ll live your life without troublesome blind spots.
- You’ll be free from the story that resulted from the original traumatic event. More freedom.
This takes time, introspection, and a willingness to go deep into your personal closet and exhume some skeletons. It’s scary and at times painful.
Note: This series is a description of what I learned and how I benefited from attend attending the Landmark Forum. It is not meant to precisely replicate what Landmark teaches – it’s what I learned. The strong suit concept is one of several unique theories that participants learn during the 3-day seminar. I encourage all to attend and benefit in your own unique way.
In Part 2, I’ll describe each strong suit in more detail including the time frame that each occurs. I’ll describe what the traumatic event often looks like. In succeeding parts, I’ll describe my strong suits and the stories of my traumatic events.
Here are the links to the rest of this series:
- Part 1 – Strong Suits
- Part 2 – When & How They Begin
- Part 3 – Smart Was Already Taken
- Part 4 – Roller Skating Rink
- Part 5 – Delusions of Grandeur
- Part 6 – Mind Map