Wednesday, January 27, 2010

More on Character Strengths

Okay, we have had a day to think about what character strengths mean to us. I am going to go through the exercise as an example of how you can hone in on what your true character strengths are. Remember when I discussed the book Strength Finders 2.0(Review on post Growing Your Strengths).

In that book you took an online assessment and it spit out a list of values/characteristics/strengths. This is what mine said:

“Chances are good that you distinguish the fine points of each person’s contribution to a conversation. You guide exchange of information and draw out perspectives of everyone involved. You help individuals bring forth their viewpoints. You honor the uniqueness of each human being, and can have a dialogue with nearly anyone you meet. Driven by your talents, you sense people appreciate the advise you give. You believe that you can help people deal with problems by helping them identify their personal strengths, limitations, ideas, goals and experiences. You are someone people can trust and are a desired friend. You make a good partner at home, work, school and community because you thrive to make the world around you better. You tend to do more than is expected of you because you worry about wasting time. You consistently ask and volunteer for projects and duties as you are a high achiever."

From that description what would my character strengths be? I think the first could be the strength of humanity. Humanity means I have the capacity to love and be loved, I have a great passion for charity, giving, and humankind. I care more about making the world better than myself better.

Another character strength I see from this is transcendence. Don’t worry, I am not coming up with these all by myself, I will share more “big words” in a moment. Transcendence means to have a connection with a larger whole and extending beyond the limits of ordinary being and/or material existence. I have the character strength to see how things fit together and I show gratitude and hope for a better tomorrow. I surround myself with humor and I appreciate excellence as well as have a deep spiritual drive.

So my two main strengths are humanity and transcendence. Now those I can build on! Are they true? For those of you who know me, do you think of me when you read about these words?

So where did I get these words? Well a number of places. This first is in the Positive Psychology book. They list a number of classifications of strengths and virtues. I will explain the ones I can find and let you work your own thoughts into what your true character strengths. (See pages 124 and 129)

Knowledge – Related to acquiring and using new information. Some values and views you may have include creativity, curiosity, the love of learning, perspective, wisdom, and open-mindedness.

Courage – Related to maintaining willpower in the face of opposition. Some values and views you may have include bravery, persistence, integrity, and vitality.

Humanity – Those that center around relationships with others. Some values and views you may have include the capacity to love, capacity to receive love, kindness and social intelligence.

Justice – Those that support the best possible interaction among a group. Some values and views you may have include citizenship, fairness and leadership.

Temperance – Those that protect from excess. Some values and views you may have include forgiveness/mercy, modesty/humility, prudence, and self-

Transcendence – Those that form connections with a larger whole. Some values and views you may have include appreciation of excellence and beauty, gratitude, hope, humor, and spirituality.

Another assessment for understanding your strengths can be found at http://www.viastrengths.orgThis is the VIA-IS Assessment which stands for Values in Action Inventory of Strengths. In this assessment you work through 240 items that look at 24 different character strengths. IT IS FREE, so try it. It takes about 45 minutes to complete, so allow yourself some time. I will take it this week and see if I am on target with the Strength Finders 2.0 ones as well.

The VIA-IS assessment categorizes the strengths into four spectrums: Strengths of the Hearth, Strengths of the Mind, Self Focused and Other focused. From the look of the plot chart (page 129 in Positive Psychology book) I would see myself as more in the strengths of the heart and other focused areas. In there the characteristics are humor, leadership, teamwork, forgiveness, gratitude, love and kindness. I will see if I can find this plot map on line and link to it tomorrow.

So, your task today is to begin to think about your character strengths. Take the VIA-IS assessment if you can and start formulating what your true strengths are.

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