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Personal Learning Journal

1. Learning Events

(i) STRENGTHS 3/14/16

The week’s lecture was a focus on strength and how it can be used to one’s advantage. It covered the fact that everyone has his or her strength. However, people often fail as they decided not to put their strengths into action. Strength is a positive force that should enable one live to his or her dreams. Even though people struggle to achieve goals, it is not enough since it is just a source of relief but not success or happiness. The lecture showed that strength can be in the form of wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence among other related positive things. Strengths have a couple of benefits in one’s life if identified and used appropriately. First, it brings happiness and reduces the mental problems that one might face. Second, it improves an individual’s academic performance. Third, it enables one to have the power to overcome the setbacks and challenges.

Strength is a virtue thus can only be determined considering time, culture, information sources, and the belief of people. Strengths are what a person need in his or her life but if not used well; it can make one suffer. Strengths are varied; therefore, people might have distinct strengths depending on context. Upon identifying strengths, one should look for a suitable way to use them. Words are also important in determining strengths. Upon identification of the strengths, one needs to focus and attend to them. Tools have been put in place that would help one identify his or her strengths. Strength can be determined through the Gallup strength framework or the online questionnaires.

Strength is very critical to determine one’s success. It is important, therefore, to identify the strengths at an individual level and put efforts in place to ensure they are used to achieve success. Failure to put strengths into action is as bad as not identifying them. Everyone should, therefore, identify his or her strength and know where and when to apply them.

Before going through the lesson, I have never imagined that strength could be used to once disadvantage. I always considered it something positive that cannot lead to a negative output. After the lesson, I have learned that if strength is not used well, it can be detrimental. I have also learned that strengths can be categorized for ease of understanding. In addition, I have learned that there are tools that one can use to determine strengths.

I have learned that it is important for one to know his or her strength. In addition, one should use the identified strength to his or her advantage. I have decided to work on the identification of all my strengths and to put them to positive use.

According to Carmichael (2016), the focus should be on converting the weaknesses to strengths. The stand is contrary to the class work view of the concept. According to the article, strengths are significant but still they are positive to the performance; focus need to be placed on the things that cause a fall on the same, and these are the weaknesses. She argues that the thinking that recruiting a person to positions relevant to their strength is intuitive. Focus should, therefore, be focused on both the strengths and weaknesses of an individual to improve their performance. The argument Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic (In Carmichael, 2016) does make sense to me, since there is a need to improve the weakness instead of a focus on the strengths. According to Goodman (2012), one can discover his or her strengths in four ways. First, people should consider things that excite them as their strength. Second, one can identify their strength through trying different things that they often do. Third, one can determine his or her strength through noting what he or she does differently with the rest of the people. Lastly, one should creatively define their strengths. However, I do not agree with the last method as a way of discovering someone’s strength. In real life situation, I do not think allocating a new name to strength affects the perception. Giboons (2014) in agreement argues that self-assessment is crucial in the identification of strength which translates to improved performance. According to Manthey et al. (2011), programs and practices that aim at promoting strength-based practice have not been effective due to poor measure in determining the most effective practices. For instance, in several cases, my supervisors and parents have told me what my strengths are, and I often question how they knew. What measurement did they use? Shellenbarger (2012) argues that apart from focusing on the strengths, time is a crucial aspect of determining productivity.


According to the week’s lesson, psychological capital is a positive psychological state of development of a person. Even though it might be stable at times, it can also be developed. PsyCap is made of four dimensions: hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism. These dimensions are measurable, developable, manageable, and can improve work performance. At the work level, PsyCap can influence the employee’s performance, intention to drop a job, commitment, and wellbeing. It can be measured using the Likert Scale and Scoring. First, hope is a motivational state that is positive and based on feelings which are enhanced by pathways and agencies. Hopeful thinking has got three elements: goals, pathways, and agency. Second, Self-efficacy is an individual belief that he or she can achieve his or her goals through the personal efforts. People are defined to have self-efficacy if they considered challenges to be something that can be solved while those with low-self efficacy thing otherwise. Self-efficacy is directly proportional to the achievement of the goal. It can be developed through mastery experiences, social modeling, social persuasion, and psychological responses. Third, resilience is the capacity of an individual to adapt positively or cope with significant risk or in the face of diversity. Lastly, optimism is the tendency of always expecting a positive outcome or the best. It can be determined by permanence, pervasiveness, and personalization.

The week’s lesson was a good one with so much to learn. It was a detailed discussion of PsyCap, its importance, and components. The additional explanation of its components made it even easier to understand the concept and elaborate on the issue.

At the initial part of the event, I felt lost since I could not determine the relevance of PsyCap. I feared that I might not be able to grasp the information since it seemed technical. However, with the explanation and definition, I became more aware of the concept. At the later stages, there was a flow of information, and I was able to grasp the concept in its totality.

I have learned that the psychological state of the mind can be developed to the better. It, therefore, means that performance is always open for improvement. The improvements can be achieved through the consideration of the PsyCap dimensions which include hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism. I will, therefore, always work on improving my PsyCap so as to improve my performance in all my endeavors.

According to Verleysen, BLambrechts, and Van Acker (2014), psychological capital can be developed by use of Appreciative Inquiry. They also argue that development of psychological capital is essential for an organization that wants to thrive. Luthans, Luthans, and Avey (2013) agree that the common dimension of PsyCap is optimism, resilience, efficacy, and hope. In addition, they argue that PsyCap is related to an individual’s performance outcome, behavior, and attitude. A study by Ziyae, Mobaraki, and Saeediyoun (2015) show that PsyCap influences innovation. The study enabled me to recall when I went to visit my rural home and the agricultural experts could visit people’s farms. On people with great PsyCap were able to innovate ideas and even adopt the technologies. Jensen (2012) argues that the construct of psychological capital can be used to improve or enhance the understanding of how people perceive stress. The core constructs are resilience, optimism, hope, and self-efficacy. It also enables the entrepreneurs to develop their psychological capital and those of the employees. In future, in case, I will ensure that I develop the psychological capital of all my workers so as to improve their performance and creativity. I would also like to improve my social capital in future so as that I can have a different understanding of stress. As a result, I will be able to venture into business with a different perception. Studies have been put in place to determine factors that influence organizational performance (Hsu et al., 2014). Some of the approaches that have been proposed include resource-based and organization view of the firm. However, it has been realized that the social and financial capital are not enough in determining continuous investment.

Core values that are critical in ensuring business progress include commitment and satisfaction. It has been argued that insufficient understanding and superficial knowledge of human beings is the reason to why mobilizing of human recourses has been trouble. Psychological capital is, therefore, critical if a business has to keep up with the global economy. Investment on the psychological capital of each of the employees will ensure a rise in the returns of investments. In explanation, development of the psychological capital will improve the employees’ work performance thus increase productivity.

2. Vision for the Future

Incorporation of the concept and items of strengths in my life would see an improvement of my performance. I will be able to identify my strengths and become a better person. First, I will be happier and more outgoing. It is often had to be an international student but with the items that I have learned on strength, in the next twelve months, I will be a better person. Second, my performance would improve since I will have greater self-esteem as I work on what I am good in going. Third, I will be able to address the challenges that I face on my own. For example, I plan to stay in Australia for three years, and one of the most challenging tasks for a Chinese or any other person of different is getting equipped in the best English so that one could handle his or her issues at the personal level.

With my strengths identified, I will be able to address setbacks that are linked to the changes in the environment thus becoming more productive in my endeavors including education. I will become more genuine of who I am as a person and never struggle to imitate people for I will be satisfied with what makes me as a person. I am at becoming more creative, brave, and of high social intelligence. I also see myself being a leader in the within the next three years. My focus in life will be on ensuring that I engage in things that make me satisfied and happy and not just what I need.

I see a great future if I will be able to incorporate PsyCap learning into my life. In explanation, in the next twelve months, I see myself being more committed, of great performance, and of good health due to high psychological capital. Furthermore, I will be able to make a critical decision in my life with ease include issues relating to love, education, and career. I will be more committed to my activities as a person, a student, and n employee. As a result, psychological capital will see me improve in performance in all my ventures in life. Then automatically, with an increase in performance, I will become more confident hence of good health. That is, I will have fewer issues to trouble my mind since I will be psychologically prepared and in a position to handle all of the issues that might arise. The higher psychological capital that will be gained by the end of twelve months will enable my hope to increase. Furthermore, my self-efficacy levels will improve. In addition, my resilience in activities that I engage in will increase as I will focus more on ensuring success in all that I am involved. I also see a future with improved optimism and a belief that all is possible despite the challenges and the constraints that come with it. I will be less pessimistic in life thus improving my performance as an individual. In other words, I will be a better person than I am today.

3. Action Plans

Action Plan 1

Character Strengths I Need

I aim at becoming happier and more outgoing.

The goal will be accomplished within the next twelve months.

I will achieve the goal during my stay in Australia as an international student and even life after when I go back to China.

I will identify my strengths through determining things that make me happy and engage my friends in them. I will also consider engaging in the activities that come to me with ease and not those that I struggle to achieve. In addition, I will be myself, and only join companies that appreciate me for what I am. Lastly, I will engage in activities that motivate me (Shaked, 2014).

Some of the character strength that I need include being sincere with myself and the people around me.

Improving my academic performance to excellence (Ward, Siegel, and Davenport, 2012)

I am at achieving the goal in the next twelve months.

I will accomplish the goal during my stay in Australia as an international student.

I will focus on learning English to become a better person. However, the learning process will be based on what I love most. In explanation, I will use my strength of watching movies to learn and be eloquent in English so as to improve my academic performance.

I need to always remain focus and keep trying speaking in English to the perfection.

Being able to address my problems.

I want to be able to address my problems on expiry of the next twelve months.

I will accomplish the goal on my stay in Australia.

I will identify my strengths and focus on them in solving my weaknesses. For instance, I will use my spiritual strength to address issues beyond my control as opposed to telling people my problem.

I have to be spiritually strong so as to be self-reliant.

Action Plan 2

Character Strength I Need?

Being more committed in achieving my endeavors that include career improvement, education, and relationships.

I aim at improving my level of commitment in career, relationship, and education within the next twelve months (Avey et al., 2010).

My level of commitment will be improved during my stay in Australia as an international student.

I aim at improving my level of engagement improving my levels of hope, having strong self-efficacy beliefs, promoting my resilience, and becoming more optimistic.

I need to be more optimistic, resilient, a person with self-efficacy, and hopeful.

Improvement in performance in all my activities including academics and career (Naotunna, 2015).

I aim at improving my academic and career performance within the next twelve months.

My performance will be improved during my stay in Australia as an international student.

I aim at improving my performance through improving my level of hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism.

I need to be more optimistic, resilient, a person with self-efficacy, and hopeful.

Improving my health through ensuring that I have a relaxed piece of mind (Simons and Buitendach, 2013).

I aim at improving the status of my health by the end of twelve months.

My health condition will be improved during my stay in Australia as an international student.

I aim at improving my level of commitment through improving my level of hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism.

I need to be more optimistic, resilient, a person with self-efficacy, and hopeful.


Avey, J. B., Luthans, F., Smith, R. M., & Palmer, N. F. (2010). Impact of positive psychological capital on employee well-being over time. Journal of occupational health psychology, 15(1), 17-28.

Carmichael, S.G. (2016). Stop focusing on your strength. Retrieved from

Giboons, M. (2014). How can I find my strengths? Retrieved from strengths.html

Goodman, N. (2012). 4 ways to discover your strengths. Retrieved from

Hsu, S. H., Wang, Y. C., Chen, Y. F., & Dahlgaard-Park, S. M. (2014). Building business excellence through psychological capital. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 25(11-12), 1210-1223.

Jensen, S. M. (2012). Psychological Capital: Key to understanding entrepreneurial stress?. Economics & Business Journal: Inquiries & Perspectives, 4(1), 44-55.

Luthans, B. C., Luthans, K. W., & Avey, J. B. (2013). Building the leaders of tomorrow: The development of academic psychological capital. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 1548051813517003.

Manthey, T. J., Knowles, B., Asher, D., & Wahab, S. (2011). Strengths-based practice and motivational interviewing. Advances in Social Work, 12(2), 126-151.

Naotunna, S. (2015). Psychological Capital: A Positive Approach to Enhance Commitment to Change among University Students. American Journal of Educational Research, 3(6), 765-769.

Shaked, D. (2014). Strength-based lean six sigma: Building positive and engaging business improvement. London: Kogan Page.

Shellenbarger, S. (2012). The peak time for everything. Retrieved

Simons, J. C., & Buitendach, J. H. (2013). Psychological capital, work engagement and organisational commitment amongst call centre employees in South Africa. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology, 39(2), 1-12.

Verleysen, B., Lambrechts, F., & Van Acker, F. (2014). Building Psychological Capital With Appreciative Inquiry Investigating the Mediating Role of Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 0021886314540209.

Ward, L., Siegel, M. J., & Davenport, Z. (2012). First-generation college students: Understanding and improving the experience from recruitment to commencement. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Ziyae, B., Mobaraki, M. H., & Saeediyoun, M. (2015). The effect of psychological capital on innovation in information technology. Journal of Global Entrepreneurship Research, 5(1), 1-12.