The Highlands Ability Battery (HAB)

By Diana Ritchie

Have you ever noticed that when you happily do certain tasks, jobs, activities it does not feel like work but rather like pleasure? No one needs to pay you – you would happily do them for free! We often call these activities “hobbies”– what we do in our evenings and weekends when we are not working.

Society has taught us that work is not meant to be enjoyable and that we work so we can afford to do what brings us joy. The new generation does not believe in this old model; they want to enjoy their lives (including work) and I believe they can.

So whether you are intrigued to learn more about yourself, looking to change jobs or if you are a parent and you want to support your children to make the best choices for their education, future careers and lives, then keep reading to learn more about the Highlands Ability Battery (HAB).

Your Natural Talents, Gifts & Abilities

Everyone is born with inherent abilities that make certain types of tasks preferable to others.

For that reason, people are most fulfilled in their careers when they find an environment that allows them to work primarily with their gifts and natural talents. The HAB is an objective way of assessing what those abilities are through an online 3 hour assessment test that consists of 19 work samples.

Natural abilities are like the strings of a violin or the keys of a piano. Untouched, they exist without any impact on our minds or senses. Harnessed and controlled, they offer limitless possibilities for growth and development. Everyone is born with natural abilities. Natural abilities are not influenced by education or experience. By the age of fourteen the natural abilities of each individual have matured enough to be defined and measured.

For some talents are specialized, such as a gift for music or design, or a gift for theoretical thought. For others talents may be more generalized, such as a talent for leading teams or the abilities that make teaching, selling or writing easy.

But does it matter if you know what your natural abilities are? Can’t everyone learn skills and improve their job performance, regardless? 

There’s no question that we can all improve in different areas and acquire skills. But, it takes a tremendous amount of effort to do something well for which you are not naturally suited. You will achieve fewer results and obtain far less satisfaction doing work that doesn’t align with your natural talents, gifts, and abilities. For individuals this means longer, more frustrating hours with fewer rewards; for organizations, this means falling short of attaining maximum productivity.

Categories of Natural Abilities

The following lists are designed to give a brief indication of the kinds of abilities and personal characteristics that the HAB is designed to assess: 

Personal Style dimensions are predictive of behavior patterns.

  • Generalist / Specialist
  • Introvert / Extrovert
  • Time Frame

Driving Abilities power everything that you do.

  • Classification
  • Concept Organization
  • Idea Productivity
  • Spatial Relations Theory
  • Spatial Relations Visualization

Specialized Abilities influence how you take in information.

  • Design Memory
  • Observation
  • Verbal Memory
  • Tonal Memory
  • Rhythmic Memory
  • Pitch Discrimination
  • Number Memory
  • Visual Speed
  • Visual Accuracy

Your scores in these different areas will be relatively high, medium, or low in comparison to the tens of thousands of people who have taken the HAB before you. There’s no inherent benefit to having one ability rather than another—it’s knowing where your strengths lie that gives you the advantage. That’s how you can discover your real sources of creativity and energy.

Understanding Your Natural Abilities

Your natural abilities will be charted and explained in a customized feedback session designed to relate your pattern of abilities to align with performance, work and school environment, and career fit. Diana Ritchie will debrief the report with you in a 2 hour meeting to interpret the results and help you identify what subject choices are best suited to you as well as where and how your abilities can best be leveraged in your career journey. The feedback session is indispensable and Diana Ritchie offers her 15 plus years of international career coaching, her self-discovery, expertise and intuitive knowledge to benefit each person. The knowledge you gain about yourself will be invaluable and prevent wasted time and lost opportunities.

What we know from the scientific study of human engineering is that we are all born with innate abilities. What we have learned from decades of practical application is that understanding the interplay between these abilities and how they synergistically contribute to our overall potential will provide valuable insights that will enhance our journey of self-discovery.

This is what students are saying:

Zulu Gumbi

When Sharon Levy suggested I do the HAB, I was apprehensive as I had done several educational/career assessments before and feared I would encounter more of the same. I was wrong. I not only learned more about what I was good at but also about how I interacted with the world around me. I found the tasks of the HAB interesting and compelling and the sessions I had with Diana Ritchie by way of feedback after the test were exceptionally insightful because of the way in which she explained what the results meant for me. I was able to confirm things I already knew about myself and also learn much that was new. I would recommend anyone interested in taking the HAB to do so. 

Demi Kaplan

At 18 it is difficult to know what you want to study, let alone what job you want to do for the rest of your life. However, the Highlands Ability Battery (HAB) helped me enormously. Unlike other tests it was not full of unhelpful generalised questions but used various exercises to assess your abilities based on performance rather than perception. This allows you to be honest with yourself while nonetheless assessing your natural abilities. Diana’s post-test feedback was invaluable, allowing me to realise that my ability to link different subjects was actually uncommon and that I should use it. However her feedback went beyond mere explanation of the results, indicating how my abilities could be of benefit to me as well as indicating various things of which I should be cautious. Suddenly my own strengths and weaknesses made sense to me and after the test I confidently knew what I wanted to do with my life. I would undoubtedly recommend taking the HAB. 

This is what a parent said:

My daughter Ella recently completed the Highlands Ability Battery (HAB) in order to assist her with choosing subjects to study and investigating career possibilities. We both found the HAB extremely enlightening as it is a detailed strengths-based assessment focusing on the interaction of complex variables, which results in deepening self-knowledge guiding one’s career decisions. User-friendly graphs and friendly discussions highlighted both Ella’s strengths and weaknesses as well as what motivates her, what interests her, what she wants from a job, how she interacts with others and what work environment would best suit her. 

Diana was positive and affirming, offering detailed explanations that made the test results applicable to Ella’s life both now and in the future. We were also given thorough reports in accessible language with helpful visuals. The entire process was constructive, empowering Ella in her decision-making regarding the future course of her life. The experience went far beyond what traditional career assessments offer and I would highly recommend taking the HAB to anyone seeking guidance regarding their studies or the direction their lives should take.