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Character Strengths: The Backbone of Positive Psychology

It’s hard to believe that nearly 2 years have passed since I completed the MAPP program (Master of Positive Psychology). The science of wellbeing and its impact on both my practice and personal life continues to evolve and I’m enjoying the ride! I still appreciate the change of tone and direction in meetings with clients who continue discovering their character strengths and how to best tap into them.

What are Character Strengths? 

Basically, character strengths reflect what is morally good and strong within us all and helps us understand how we like to engage with the world around us.

Why Bother Learning about Character Strengths? 

Well it’s hard to ignore the evidence and it keeps piling up! There’s a stack of personal and professional benefits for developing a strengths-based focus in life and here are a few highlights:

  • Improve job satisfaction, productivity, and meaning
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve relationships 
  • Achieve set goals
  • Boost confidence
  • Develop resilience
  • Improve happiness


I believe the VIA Survey is the best first step in discovering your unique strengths profile. The survey is free and takes about 10-15 minutes to complete. You’ll be provided a summary of your character strengths, rank-ordered from 1-24. Keep in mind that #24 is not a weakness, it’s simply a lesser utilised strength! (I’m still surprised at the number of people who quickly look to the bottom of the list in consideration of what’s ‘wrong’ with them).

To get your own profile, click on my consultancy link for the VIA Survey here.

When reviewing your character strengths profile, take some time to consider the following questions:

1) Do the results match how you view yourself?

Yes: Then the challenge is about finding ways to proactively use them more often and efficiently.

No:  Then it’s about doing a bit of an inventory. Talk to significant others to see how they would rank your strengths and see how that matches how you view yourself.

2) Are there certain strengths you value more and want to develop?

If yes, then the challenge is to learn more about certain strengths and how to crank them up! Find ways to practice and experience use of such strengths. 

3) Think about a time when things were going well … a time when you were in the zone, you were energised, engaged, and even happy. Which of your character strengths were at play? How did it feel?

4) Think about a time when things weren’t going very well … a time when you felt disconnected, doubting yourself, holding back, or not wanting to ‘rock the boat’. Which of your character strengths could have helped you better manage the situation and how could you crank them up in the future?

The VIA website has a wealth of information to help you learn more about strengths. I hope you curiously explore the material and enjoy the process of unlocking your potential. 

Remember, there’s always Room for Positive Change!

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