Character Strengths

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In The Power of Character Strengths, Dr. Robert McGrath and Ryan Niemiec tell us three interesting facts about character.

First, they tell us why we should care about the 24 character strengths:

Character strengths are basic elements of our identity. When we express these character strengths through our thoughts and actions, research says we tend to feel happier, more connected, and more productive.

Second, they tell us about our top 5 character strengths:

“Nowhere is your uniqueness clearer than with your signature strengths. The concept of signature strengths is an important part of the VIA Classification. These are the strengths that are strongest or most prominent in your own strengths profile. With over 5.1 million possible combinations in your top five strengths, these are the elements of your character that warrant your closest attention. They hold great potential. Ultimately, they are likely to be the strengths that matter most to you, that are most central to your identity.”

Third, they tell us about the 3 E’s we can use to identify signature strengths:

Essential — They feel essential to who you are as a person. The person for whom appreciation of beauty and excellence is a signature strength doesn’t just like beauty: seeking out experiences of beauty is part of what makes them who they are.

Effortless — When you enact the strength, it feels natural and effortless. Being curious or kind isn’t work; it just flows. Recent research suggests this sense of flow when using a character strength is the best single identifier of a signature strength.

Energizing — Using the strength energizes and uplifts you. It leaves you feeling happy, in balance, and ready to take on more.”

You can take the character strengths test here for free. It will rank your 24 strengths from highest to lowest. Make it a habit to practice one or more of your signature strengths daily to “feel happier, more connected, and more productive.”

My top strength is my love of learning, for example, so I created an IF-THEN plan to capitalize on my love of learning. IF I am doing something boring, THEN I am using my love of learning strength by listening to an audiobook, podcast, lecture, or book summary.