This week marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of Advantaged Thinking – the Foyer Federation’s asset-based philosophy that empowers young people to build sustainable futures based on their strengths and talents. It stands in opposition to Disadvantaged Thinking, which tries only to treat problems and so focuses squarely on problems and challenges rather than having ambition and big dreams for people.
Having an Advantaged Thinking mindset will help you continue to thrive, build your resilience, and find positive ways to navigate whatever challenges life throws at you positively and purposefully. It can take practice to become an Advantaged Thinker, and the 7 Tests of Advantaged Thinking are a handy way to check in with yourself.
For this Advantaged Thinking Week, we’re setting a challenge a day for anyone ready to find out how this positive mindset can benefit them. There’s some good you can do for yourself and for others every day – share your stories, pictures and experiences with us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using the hashtag #7TestsChallenge!
DAY ONE: TALK
Walk around your service and go online to find newspapers, magazines and stories about young people. What kind of words are used? Are they usually positive or negative? Do they talk about young people’s skills and talents first, or focus on problems and difficulties?
Share the headlines and stories that talk positively about young people! If you find any that use negative language, flip the narrative and tell us how you’d like to see young people talked about instead.
DAY TWO: UNDERSTAND
A lot of the time, people don’t always get the chance to understand someone before they have to make decisions for them or for the services they use. How do you want people to understand you? Make a collage, word cloud, list or drawing of your strengths and best qualities, the skills you have that you’re proud of, the values that matter to you most, the skills and experiences you have that you could brag about to an employer, and the things someone close to you would say you’re good at, and share!
DAY THREE: WORK
Working with others can mean reaching out to check on your friends, helping someone in your community when they need assistance, volunteering for a local organisation, or being a considerate neighbour, colleague or friend. How do you work with people to make society happier and stronger? Share your experiences!
DAY FOUR: INVEST
You are your greatest asset, and you are worth investing in. Spend time on one of your existing strengths to make it even better, or pick something you want to work on and invest time in it today. You could look for a free course online, ask someone you know to give you tips on something they’re good at, or spend some time practising a skill. Share how you invest in yourself today.
DAY FIVE: BELIEVE
Believe in yourself, in your strengths, and that you can achieve the things you want out of life. What can you do this week to help you get there? Set yourself three positive goals for the week, with one that’s a quick win to give you momentum and one that’s more of a challenge. Make sure they’re things you can control. Put them up somewhere you can see them and keep checking in on them to see how you’re progressing. Share a picture of them on your wall.
DAY SIX: INVOLVE
You can use your strengths to make your community and the world a better place. How can you involve yourself in life at the Foyer? What skills could you share? What strengths can you donate to help others? How can you get involved in decisions made in your service? Jot down some different ideas and share them with us – and with the staff at your service too!
DAY SEVEN: CHALLENGE
The end of the week is a good time to check-in and challenge yourself about how positive and active you’ve been over the last six days. Here are a few questions to reflect on:
- Have you stayed focused on your strengths?
- Did you keep working on your goals?
- How much did you stick to positives and avoid negativity?
- How did you invest in your strengths and new skills?
- Have you connected with anyone else?
- Have you taken action to open up your strengths and talents to the world?