How to Use Your Character Strengths

The PsyBlog has a couple of posts up about character strengths. The first one, “Discover You Character Strengths in 15 Minutes”, has a link to a 240 question quiz, which I took. The second one focuses on “How to Use You Character Strengths”. There were a couple of results from the quiz I disagreed with but the rest was spot on. The results I disagreed with were also near the bottom of the list, which are not my top strengths and are the ones I need to take a closer look at.

“You may like to have your character strengths survey results to hand while thinking about these questions. Head over to the VIA Survey website to recap your strengths, or take the test if you haven’t done so already. This previous post explains the background.

What can I do with my list of strengths?
One common exercise is a discussion of your signature strengths with another person. Talk with someone you trust about which strengths strike you as more authentically associated with yourself. One thing you might discuss or have a think about is:

How do I know when to use which strength?
Sometimes it’s possible to be too courageous, too curious or even too kind. The trick is determining when to use which strength. Try to think of situations in which you’ve used your strengths successfully and times when you’ve used them unsuccessfully. Is there any pattern? If there is, what is this telling you? Schwartz and Sharpe (2005) argue that practical wisdom can only be reached through practice. There’s no substitute for exercising your strengths in the right way, and understanding why.”

(via Psyblog)

(Character Strength Quiz via VIA Institute)

7 Comments

  1. “Innocence must always give way to maturity eventually. Anyway, happiness comes from manipulating your weaknesses into strengths, not from chasing desires.” – The Residents, Santa Dog.

  2. Thanks for this. I just bought Strength Finder 2.0 and took the test, and I’ve been looking for a free equivalent to point people to. I got similar results from both tests, but they are differ in outlook and purpose – Strength Finder is about “natural talents” – things you have a natural ability to do well. It’s more concrete and action driven.This seems to be a test of virtues – admirable character traits. It’s more abstract and value-driven.

  3. Oh, and always beware the Forer Effect: http://skepdic.com/forer.html

  4. Wait. Is that *really* in the lyrics of Santa Dog? Could be — there are sections I’ve never made out — but, wtf?

  5. Hmm. The Forer effect. You mean…that horoscope in the paper…you mean…that’s for other people too??

  6. Trevor-I always wondered if there was a subliminal message under “bing, bing, bing, bong, bong bong” in Santa’s Dog. Thanks for the clarification.

    Klintron- thanks for the tip on Strength Finder. I’ll have to check it out. I think the Forer effect is one of the reasons they suggest you do this with a friend(s). I had an assignment in applied psychology that was very similar to this where I had to go ask 3 friends certain questions. The results were surprising.

  7. The quote I gave from Santa Dog was from the sleeve the record came in. The lyrics are online. They definitely have whispered messages in their music, so who knows.

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