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?

  • It’s not just the fact that these individuals are enormously talented.
  • Or, that their songs are very engaging with “catchy,” meaningful lyrics and a strong musical sound.
  • Or, the interesting tidbit that they were the first indie band to play in front of the United Nations in New York, back in 2008.
  • Or, the fact that the majority of the band’s members (5 of the 6) have a disability of some kind (Down syndrome, Asperger’s, autism, blindness, deafness).
  • While each of these points is important, what is perhaps most important is that these individuals are – as novelist Emile Zola famously stated – “living out loud.” They are authentic. They are expressing who they are. No holds barred.

From the perspective of character strengths, each individual is expressing their signature strengths – those strengths of character that are most core to who they are. Sam, the bass guitarist, is known for expressing himself with a sense of playfulness, enthusiasm, high energy, and mischievousness (the character strengths of zest and humor). The lead singer, Rory, brings an original sound and captivating lyrics with a deep sense of heart (the strengths of creativity and love). To learn more about the “language” of these character strengths classified by scientists, click here.

In the end, listeners and viewers are left feeling elevated. Elevation is an emotion that causes us, the observers, to feel a sense of warmth in the chest and tingling sensations of inspiration. Most important, when we feel elevated, we are motivated to do good. Scientists find that elevation motivates us to be altruistic and kind to others. Said another way, we become motivated to express our best qualities (i.e., our character strengths) for the service of others.

This is “musical elevation” at its best.

I wonder how many people have become elevated after watching or listening to the music and performances of Rudely Interrupted as these musicians express their true selves? Because of this, how many people have then positively impacted another person as a direct result?

It’s impossible to know.

But perhaps you will be next.

 

Want more info on Rudely Interrupted?

Go to their site here.

On YouTube: Rudely Interrupted – “No Goodbyes”

one question

 

Want more info on character strengths?

Learn more here.

And, take the VIA Survey of strengths here.

Want more info about this blog’s author?

Go to his site here.

References

Algoe, S. B., & Haidt, J. (2009). Witnessing excellence in action: The ‘other-praising’ emotions of elevation, gratitude, and admiration. Journal of Positive Psychology, 4, 105-127.

Aquino, K., McFerran, B., & Laven, M. (2011). Moral identity and the experience of moral elevation in response to acts of uncommon goodness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100(4), 703-718.

Cox, K. S. (2010). Elevation predicts domain-specific volunteerism 3 months later. Journal of Positive Psychology, 5(5), 333-341.

Haidt, J. (2003). Elevation and the positive psychology of morality. In C. L. M. Keyes & J. Haidt (Eds.), Flourishing: Positive psychology and the life well-lived (pp. 275–289). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Landis, S. K., Sherman, M. F., Piedmont, R. L., Kirkhart, M. W., Rapp, E. M., & Bike, D. H. (2009). The relation between elevation and self-reported prosocial behavior: Incremental validity over the Five-Factor Model of Personality. Journal of Positive Psychology, 4(1), 71-84.

Niemiec, R. M., & Wedding, D. (2014). Positive psychology at the movies 2: Using films to build character strengths and well-being. Cambridge, MA: Hogrefe.

Niemiec, R. M. (2010, May 12). The true meaning of character. [Review of the motion picture Invictus]. PsycCRITIQUES – Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 55(19), Article 9.

Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2004). Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification. New York: Oxford University Press.

Schnall, S., Roper, J., & Fessler, D. M. T. (2010). Elevation leads to altruistic behavior. Psychological Science, 21, 315-320.

Schnall, S., & Roper, J.  (2011). Elevation puts moral values into action. Social Psychological and Personality Science.

 

 


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    Last reviewed: 11 Oct 2013

APA Reference
Niemiec, R. (2013). Inspire Your Strengths (By Getting Rudely Interrupted). Psych Central. Retrieved on August 29, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/character-strengths/2013/10/inspire-your-strengths-by-getting-rudely-interrupted/

 

 

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