Character Strengths

Myers-Briggs or VIA: A Comparison of Tools


Most people these days seem to know their “type” according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). You know whether you prefer to be more extraverted or introverted, thinking or feeling, or judging or perceiving. The MBTI has been one of the most popular tests in pop psychology for decades. People who have taken the test love to guess one another’s type.
Another test that has emerged as the main research-based test of strengths in the world is the VIA Survey. The VIA measures strengths of character and in a short period of time has had over 2.6 million takers reaching every country.
Continue Reading

Character Strengths

“Character Day” is Today: Join 1,500 Schools & Organizations

You’ll be glad you spent 8 minutes watching this movie on YouTube here.

Who am I?
Who do I want to become?

These are questions asked by humans throughout history. You might be asking these questions yourself. Following the groundbreaking scientific VIA Classification of human strengths (which some call “The Periodic Table of Character Strengths”), there is now a framework for discussing these questions.

And, what would be a better way to explore character strengths than to watch a movie about it!?
Continue Reading

Character Strengths

Strengths: Nature, Nurture, or Both?

It is probably not useful to ask the age-old question whether our core strengths of character are more a product of our genes or our environment. When it comes to our personality, the answer is almost always – “both are important.” And, some scientists believe that with the advancements in epigenetics and the study of the interaction of our gene and environment, that the nature/nurture question becomes rhetorical and fruitless, similar to the question: What contributes more to the area of a rectangle – the height or the width?

Instead of viewing which is “more,” we can attempt to learn from both sides and make this immediately practical.
Continue Reading

Character Strengths

A Happiness Strategy for the New Year

Think about the best things in your life. What would your life be like without your supportive spouse, your good health, your house, or your college degree?

When it comes to creating more happiness in life, experts usually tell us to add more things—get a dog, build a friendship, add a gratitude list, etc. But, what about taking things away? Subtraction. Could that make us happier?
Continue Reading

Character Strengths

From Self-Criticism to Self-Inquiry

Many times after a business or work meeting, especially those involving one-on-one interaction, I would leave the meeting and a voice in my head would say:

You should have said _____.
Why didn’t you bring up _____? Why did you hold back?
You could have been smoother when you were discussing ____.
The other person wasn’t receptive to my idea about ___. I should have explained it better.

And on and on my thinking would go.
Continue Reading

Character Strengths

Love and Mindfulness: A Virtuous Circle

Sometimes people in the world of strengths make this comment: “I already use my strengths. Why should I bother to use them more?” Here’s a story to explain why:

Last week, I sat down and watched my mother and my wife express love to my 2-month old son who had not yet expressed verbal coos. The love they expressed was so genuine and pure. Warmth and care radiated from them as they passed this warmth on to my...
Continue Reading

Character Strengths

Inspire Your Strengths (By Getting Rudely Interrupted)


I learned an important lesson about character strengths this week. I was reminded that one of the core messages about strengths is this: unleash who you are by emitting your strengths out into the world.

While watching free movies about people with developmental disabilities online, I came across a 2.5 minute video that floored me. It is a music video of the pop rock band, Rudely Interrupted, from Australia. The band formed out of a music therapy group, led by band manager, Rohan Brooks. The band, now wildly popular, tours Australia and several other countries.

Take a listen to some of their music here.

What is it that I find most inspiring?
Continue Reading

Mindfulness

New Strategy: “From Mindless to Mindful”

First, select one of your “bad” habits or vices. Pick something you are struggling with or bothered by and that you do each day.

Then, consider one way you will bring greater mindfulness to the habit or vice and one way you will use one of your strengths with it.

Finally, apply the strength and mindfulness to your autopilot mind as you do the activity.

This exercise is called “From Mindless to Mindful”
Continue Reading