You look for areas of agreement.  In your view there is little to be gained from conflict and friction, so you seek to hold them to a minimum.  When you know that the people around you hold differing views, you try to find the common ground.  You can’t quite believe how much time is wasted by people trying to impose their views on others.  Wouldn’t we all be more productive if we kept our opinions in check and looked for consensus and support?  When others are sounding off about their goals, their claims, their fervently held opinions, you hold your peace.  When others strike out in a direction, you will willingly, in the service of harmony, modify your own objectives to merge with theirs (as long as their basic values do not clash with yours.)  In your view we are all in the same boat, and we  need this boat to get where we’re going.  It is a good boat.  There is no need to rock it just to show that you can.

Harmony was at the top of my list of strengths, as identified by the StrengthsFinder assessment I wrote about a while back.  The assessment, which takes about 30 minutes to complete, identifies five talents, defined as a natural way of thinking, feeling, or behaving.   When we identify our top five talents and invest the time to develop them, they can turn into a strength, or the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance.

Reading the description associated with harmony, I nearly laughed out loud.  That is exactly me.  And although I recognize myself in every sentence of that description, and am fully aware that harmony is important vital for me to be happy, I would probably not have considered that a talent or potential strength.  In today’s world, it sometimes feels as if we’re encouraged to be adversarial rather than conciliatory, taught to “make waves” in order to be really successful.   The person who favors peace and harmony is sometimes considered weak and ineffectual, while the person who behaves like the proverbial squeaky wheel will get the “grease.”

The StrengthsFinder philosophy allows me to turn that preconception on its head and look at what I once saw as a weakness in a different light.  Because I value consensus and agreement, I work well with other people.  I can be effective in creating a positive environment which leads to greater productivity and satisfaction.  Because I’m open to different perspectives, I can learn more efficient ways to do things. 

Remember that commercial campaign for Coca Cola back in the 70’s with the iconic theme song…”I’d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony…”  

I loved that so much – and now I know why.  It’s my  theme song too.

“People who are especially talented in Harmony look for consensus.  They don’t enjoy conflict; rather they seek areas of agreement.”   

Don’t you wish everybody did?




10 thoughts on “Harmony

  1. I loved that commercial too – thanks for posting it.

    I’ll head over to that site when I’m less tired; any kind of self-assessment test is too much fun to pass up.

    Harmony is terribly under-rated in our society. Everyone seems to want to dig in their heels on one issue or another instead of finding common ground. Why is it so difficult for people to just give a little bit? We’d all be so much happier.

  2. Brilliant. You are so right, people don’t understand true harmony. Simplicity confuses them; they’d rather invent convoluted schemes for getting their way, rather than being open and honest. I don’t recall if it is a Zen koan, a quotation or what, but isn’t there a story that says that while the oak is mighty, bamboo is stronger…because it bends.

  3. I, too, identify with that definition– I especially love this part:
    We are all in the same boat, and we need this boat to get where we’re going. It is a good boat. There is no need to rock it just to show that you can.

  4. Oh, Becca — we are indeed kindred spirits. Disharmony affects me in almost every way — I get anxious, flustered, filled with frustration and despair. I try to bring all within harmony and for whatever reason, in my orbit are all these folks who seem to like nothing but a good fight — or at least a big stand (that tends to be against the grain of others!) Sometimes I think I must have been an irritable rabble rouser in a previous lifetime and now I’m seeing what others had to put up with!

  5. Ha! When I read the opening of this post, I thought you were going in a different direction with this. I thought a few suggestions for Congress were to follow. It’s quite frustrating to watch the shenanigans in Washington these days. The “all in the same boat” metaphor works well. Maybe you should send this to them, Becca.

    Interesting stuff. I’m going to take that test.

  6. Becca –

    Being the peacemaker is a noble art – and I’m sure you are a fine artist!

    But as all qualities, harmony has two sides. When harmonizing stifles a healthy discussion, it is not so noble any longer……


  7. As an Ennegram Type Nine I completely identify with the above description. I detest conflict but I can also feel like I am torn in all different directions because I always seem to understand, and feel, everyone’s point of view. I am working on turning this character trait into a strength, too, while at the same time also learning to be more assertive and develop my own point of view as I am too often sucked into those of others.

    In addition to being drawn to harmony you always come across as very thoughtful and to me that is a very attractive combination 🙂

  8. But it’s so clear it took me all of five seconds to see it –

    when four people are singing in harmony, they aren’t all singing the same note!

    Harmony doesn’t mean absolute agreement, it means bringing different “notes” together to form a different, and potentially more beautiful song.

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