If you want to start using more of your potential and really thriving, begin incorporating your character strengths into what you do each day.
We all have areas of weakness and areas of great capability, though we don’t always take the time to focus on what our real strengths of character are. These are the trait-like gifts, ideals, and skills that offer you intrinsic value and fulfillment. Learn more about measuring your character strengths here.
Using character strengths offers immediate emotional enhancement and a chance for more enjoyable experiences. It provides more moments of engagement and successful results.
Everyone has areas and values where they seem to focus on and really be their best. A useful way to examine this is by assessing what’s called your “capacities,” or areas where you have likely potential, and developing a “Positive Diagnosis” of your strengths, interests, and resources.
By looking at these three areas you can better understand your capacities and how to begin incorporating them into your daily life.
Strengths - Strengths in this context is not something you perform poorly or well at, but are the positive psychological traits we as people possess. There are 24 character strengths which fall within one of seven virtues. When we use our strengths we’re at our best. The book Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification by Christopher Perterson and Martin Seligman is a wonderful resources to gain more information about what character strengths are and how to work with them.
Interests - The relationship between strengths and interests offers much insight into our life direction. Many people’s strengths are similar to their interests. Think back when you were a kid. What were you interested in? Are you still interested in this? When we are able to do what we love it opens the possibility to be more engaged in life. When our strengths and interests are uncovered we can match up how to employ these in our life.
Resources - If we don’t have the means to reach our goals it can be quite defeating. Research on hope reveals that we need both personal motivation and the necessary resources in order to reach our goals. If you’re already interested in what you do and using your strengths, finding the resources is the next step. Recognize what resources you already have and what still needs to be obtained. Use what you have now as you begin to develop further resources.
Learning to use our full potential will lead to greater fulfillment and a chance to offer our skills and insights to the world. Better understanding are character strengths, interests, and resources is a great starting point to building a more flourishing life.
Photo credit: Listen Missy!
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Last reviewed: 12 Mar 2011