Know your Strengths

Assess your Strengths


Knowing and cultivating your character strengths as well as the strengths of others is a key to increasing happiness and meaning in your life.  There are several good free questionnaires to determine what your top strengths are.

OnAir Post: Know your Strengths

Know Your Strengths

Positive psychology is all about focusing on what’s right about us.

First …  assess your TOP 5 VIA Signature Character Strengths  … here  … (it’s free).  Learn more about strengths-based work, love, and play at the VIA Institute of Character.

Second … assess more types of your strengths, validated by the Gallup organization, by looking at several options here.

Third … another way is to understand that parts of your ‘type’ are also your strengths. You can take this free questionnaire (if you haven’t taken the Myers Briggs).

Spot Strengths

Watch a quick video that show examples of spotting Character Strengths.

About the VIA Strengths Inventory

Take the VIA-Inventory of Signature Strengths to find out what your top 5 character strengths are. This (free) Survey has been taken by hundreds of thousands of people and some research findings from it are highlighted below. It measures 24 character strengths (also listed below).  In Positive Therapy, we leverage what’s best about you – in order for you to live your most actualized life. 

  1. Creativity (originality, ingenuity): Thinking of novel and productive ways to conceptualize and do things.
  2. Curiosity (interest, novelty-seeking, openness to experience): Taking an interest in ongoing experience s afor its own sake; exploring and discovering
  3. Open-mindedness (judgment, critical thinking): Thinking things through and examining them from all sides; weighing all evidence fairly.
  4. Love of learning: Mastering new skills, topics, and bodies of knowledge, whether on one’s own or formally.
  5. Perspective (wisdom): Being able to provide wise counsel to others; having ways of looking at the world that make sense to oneself and to other people
  6. Bravery (valor): Not shrinking from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain; acting on convictions even if unpopular.
  7. Persistence (perseverance, industriousness): Finishing what one starts; persisting in a course of action in spite of obstacles.
  8. Integrity (authenticity, honesty): Presenting oneself in a genuine way; taking responsibility for one’s feeling and actions
  9. Vitality (zest, enthusiasm, vigor, energy): Approaching life with excitement and energy; feeling alive and activated
  10. Love: Valuing close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated.
  11. Kindness (generosity, nurturance, care, compassion, altruistic love, “niceness”): Doing favors and good deeds for others.
  12. Social intelligence (emotional intelligence, personal intelligence): Being aware of the motives and feelings of other people and oneself.
  13. Citizenship (social responsibility, loyalty, teamwork): Working well as a member of a group or team; being loyal to the group.
  14. Fairness: Treating all people the same according to notions of fairness and justice; not letting personal feelings bias decisions about others.
  15. Leadership: Encouraging a group of which one is a member to get things done and at the same maintain time good relations within the group.
  16. Forgiveness and mercy: Forgiving those who have done wrong; accepting the shortcomings of others; giving people a second chance; not being vengeful
  17. Humility / Modesty: Letting one’s accomplishments speak for themselves; not regarding oneself as more special than one is.
  18. Prudence: Being careful about one’s choices; not taking undue risks; not saying or doing things that might later be regretted.
  19. Self-regulation (self-control): Regulating what one feels and does; being disciplined; controlling one’s appetites and emotions.
  20. Appreciation of beauty and excellence (awe, wonder, elevation): Appreciating beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in various domains of life.
  21. Gratitude: Being aware of and thankful of the good things that happen; taking time to express thanks.
  22. Hope (optimism, future-mindedness, future orientation): Expecting the best in the future and working to achieve it.
  23. Humor (playfulness): Liking to laugh and tease; bringing smiles to other people; seeing the light side.
  24. Spirituality (religiousness, faith, purpose): Having coherent beliefs about the higher purpose, the meaning of life, and the meaning of the universe.

The information above is based on the book Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification written by Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman; Published by Oxford University Press and the American Psychological Association (Copyright 2004 by Values in Action Institute).

Also … Some research findings about these strengths include …

  • Using one’s signature strengths in a new way increased happiness and decreased depression for 6 months (Gander, Proyer, Ruch, & Wyss, 2012).
  • Using one’s signature strengths in a new way increased happiness for 6 months and decreased depression for 3 months (Mongrain & Anselmo-Matthews, 2012).
  • Using one’s signature strengths in a new and unique way is an effective intervention: it increased happiness and decreased depression for 6 months (Seligman, Steen, Park, Peterson, 2005). 
  • Random assignment to a group instructed to use 2 signature strengths or use 1 signature strength and 1 bottom strength revealed significant gains in satisfaction with life compared with a control group but no differences between the 2 treatment groups (Rust, Diessner, & Reade, 2009).
  • The use of one’s top strengths leads to a decreased likelihood of depression and stress and an increase in satisfaction in law students (Peterson & Peterson, 2008).
  • The identification of signature strengths followed by discussion with a friend about strengths and use of three signature strengths in daily life boost cognitive (but not affective) well-being at three months follow-up (Mitchell, Stanimirovic, Klein, & Vella-Brodrick, 2009).
  • Among youth, the use of signature strengths in novel ways along with personally meaningful goal-setting led to increases in student engagement and hope (Madden, Green, & Grant, 2011).
  • There is a strong connection between well-being and the use of signature strengths because strengths helps us make progress on our goals and meet our basic needs for independence, relationship, and competence (Linley et al., 2010).
  • A qualitative study examined the use of VIA strengths by women in the workplace and found that in all cases, strengths led to a “virtuous circle” in which the strengths use helped them overcome obstacles that had impeded strengths use. All subjects derived unique value from using character strengths at work (Elson & Boniwell, 2011).
  • Individuals who use their character strengths experienced greater well-being, which was related to both physical and mental health. Strengths use was a unique predictor of subjective well-being after self-esteem and self-efficacy were controlled for (Proctor, Maltby, & Linley, 2009).
  • In a longitudinal study, strengths use was found to be an important predictor of well-being and led to less stress and increased positive affect, vitality, and self-esteem at 3-month and 6-month follow-up (Wood et al., 2011).

The above research information was downloaded from here.


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