We all possess character. It’s what makes us who we are and is a testament to who we’ve become. Your character is defined as a distinct set of strengths that you own to varying and unique degrees. These 24 character strengths are represented by your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
One of the most beautiful things about character is how measurable and malleable it is. While you possess a certain character, you can build that character over time to represent the type of person you wish to be in life. This level of character building is a normal part of everyone’s life.
So, what are the 12 characteristics of strengths?
A lot of what we know about character and individual strengths is credited to the work of Martin Seligman and Christopher Peterson. They championed a book called Character Strengths and Virtues that paved the way for the science of positive psychology and positive traits in humans.
They first sought out to define the characteristics of strengths, also known as the features of strengths, which include:
- Ubiquitous – widely valued, found everywhere
- Fulfilling – satisfying, necessary for living a good life
- Morally Valued – valued as an end, not a means to an end
- Elevates – uplifting, lifts you up
- Opposites – every strength has an opposite
- Trait-Like – general and stable
- Measurable & Buildable – getting better or worse by asking questions
- Distinctive – not the same as other strengths
- Paragons – those who act as a model for the strength
- Prodigies – strength that is found in young children
- Idiots – those absent of a strength
- Socially Encouraged – valued using song or poetry
These characteristics of strengths were then used to identify and define the character strengths that make us unique individuals. As a result, the powerful duo was able to identify and define 24 character strengths that are utilized in the popular and effective VIA character strengths test.
The VIA character strengths test is a psychometrically validated personality test designed to measure an individual’s character strengths. It allows you to identify your greatest strengths via the common language of 24-character strengths defined by both Seligman and Peterson.
The 24-character strengths are divided into six different categories, which we’ll detail below:
- Wisdom – creativity, curiosity, judgement, love of learning, perspective
- Courage – bravery, honesty, perseverance, zest
- Humanity – kindness, love, social intelligence
- Justice – fairness, leadership, teamwork
- Temperance – forgiveness, humility, prudence, self-regulation
- Transcendence – appreciation of beauty and intelligence, gratitude, hope, humor, spirituality
Everyone possesses a combination of these strengths at varying degrees or levels. By learning your strengths, you can utilize them when facing life’s greatest challenges, goals, and desires. They can help you build and maintain a happier, fulfilling, satisfying, and healthy lifestyle.
Your signature strengths are those that are strongest and most important to your character, to who you are, and to what makes you unique. They’re the strengths that are central to your personal identity and they’re defined as the top-seven strengths of the 24 that are listed above.
The three key features of signature strengths are that they are essential to who you are, they’re effortless in nature, and energizing to your everyday life. You should embrace and celebrate your signature strengths. You should allow them to guide you throughout life and find happiness.
If you’d like to learn more about character strengths and find your signature strengths that make up your unique character, contact Danny Stillman Coaching today. We can’t wait to help you find yourself!