Knowing your strengths – acknowledging them and using them – fulfils the Accomplishment part of Seligman’s “PERMA” model of happiness and wellbeing. (See my post from Monday.) You may think you know what you’re good at but “character strengths” aren’t necessarily what you automatically think of when you think of what you’re good at.
You can test them on the Authentic Happiness website. Scroll down to the VIA Survey of Character Strengths. There’s one for adults and one for children.
[Edited to add: this post was picked up very positively by the VIA Institute. The VIA Survey is also offered at their website, VIA Character. You might prefer to do the test there as they recently validated a briefer version of the assessment – 120-questions, as opposed to the 240 version. Also, VIA provides a variety of in-depth reports available for purchase after completing the survey, to help you learn more about how to apply character strengths and reap the benefits. I’m going to be testing one of these – I shall report!]
These are the 24 strengths being measured – though the words used are slightly different when you get your results:
- Critical thinking/Open-mindedness
- Love of learning
- Social intelligence/Social skills
- Appreciation of beauty or excellence
You want to know what my top strengths are, don’t you? Well, I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours… Mine are:
1. Creativity, ingenuity, and originality
“Thinking of new ways to do things is a crucial part of who you are. You are never content with doing something the conventional way if a better way is possible.”
2. Judgment, critical thinking, and open-mindedness
“Thinking things through and examining them from all sides are important aspects of who you are. You do not jump to conclusions, and you rely only on solid evidence to make your decisions. You are able to change your mind.”
3. Capacity to love and be loved
“You value close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated. The people to whom you feel most close are the same people who feel most close to you.”
4. Zest, enthusiasm, and energy
“Regardless of what you do, you approach it with excitement and energy. You never do anything halfway or halfheartedly. For you, life is an adventure.”
5. Curiosity and interest in the world
“You are curious about everything. You are always asking questions, and you find all subjects and topics fascinating. You like exploration and discovery.”
In the spirit of valuing my character strengths, I will now take a bow. *takes a bow*
Wellbeing requires us to know our strengths, notice ourselves using them, and see how we can make our lives better by using them more. I’m also rather self-critical, though (which isn’t a character-strength), so I would tend to want to try to improve the things which came at the bottom of my list of strengths. Bravery… 🙁
And I guess that’s the question I want to ask: does wellbeing require us to ignore our weaknesses? Hmmm. Tricky.
What do you think? And do tell me your character strengths!
In my next post, I’ll show you something you can do with them, something that’s been shown to boost wellbeing.