If you’re like most people (myself included), then you have work to do in terms of understanding your strengths. Survey research has found that most people do not have a meaningful awareness of their strengths. What’s more, it’s all-too-common for people to underuse their strengths.
We forget to take notice of our best strengths and find ways to let them loose in our lives. Take Bill, for instance.
Four wins, 104 losses. That was the all-time record of the teams seeded at #15 heading into this year’s NCAA college basketball tournament for men. This year, in their first game, the #15-seeds went 2-2.
This is why people love the NCAA tournament: A chance to root for the underdog!
Not intimidated by their powerhouse opponents, Norfolk State and Lehigh exercised a David vs. Goliath fearlessness as they competed hard, improving their “fight” as the game progressed. The crowds rallied behind these underdogs excited for the distant possibility of an upset. Many of the fans had never heard of these schools before this month yet fans were jumping up and down with such passion and zest that one would think their own child was playing in the game.
How could this be? What is the psychology behind this underdog phenomena?
Aside from being happy that your team is in the NCAA tournament and even happier when your team wins its first game, why should you care? Can tuning into college basketball games be good for your health?
Yes, it just might be.
I’m pleased to introduce Character Strengths — a blog about positive psychology and figuring out how to best use your inherent character strengths and the positives of your personality. It will highlight character strengths in action in real life, and provide tips, movie examples, inspiration and ideas on how you can improve upon your own character strengths.
Dr. Ryan M. Niemiec is an author, licensed psychologist, and educator. He is Education Director of the VIA Institute on Character, an internationally-recognized, nonprofit organization where he leads workshops around the world on the science and practice of character strengths.
Ryan is co-author of Positive Psychology at the Movies: Using Films to Build Virtues and Character Strengths (2008) and Movies and Mental Illness: Using Films to Understand Psychopathology (2005; 2010), and a number of book chapters and articles. He is Associate Editor of the APA journal PsycCRITIQUES and a Consulting Editor to the Journal of Popular Media Culture. You can learn more about him here.
Please give Ryan a warm Psych Central welcome!