It is thought that everyone has the capacity to think, feel and behave in a way that will benefit not only themselves but other people. These are character strengths or positive traits. Two researchers (Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman) identified these positive traits into 24 distinct characteristics, which were then classified into 6 individual pillars.
When you can identify and use your signature strengths, you can live your best life. The use of strengths can increase happiness, satisfaction, dealing with adversity and promotes well-being.
When we use our signature strengths we have greater feelings of purpose and fulfilment. We can flourish in life; thrive rather than just survive.
The 6 pillars of Signature Strengths
Your character strengths can be separated into six different pillars. For some people, their strengths may come from different pillars, for others, their strengths may come from the same pillar or have a smaller spread with 2 or 3 coming from one, and others coming from another.
The six pillars of signature strengths and their corresponding individual values are:
More information can be found at viacharacter.org
Understanding Signature Strengths
From the signature strengths listed on the previous page, we will now get you to try and identify which ones best describe who you are at your core. Which are most energising, natural to use and widely expressed in your life?
You can do this by asking yourself the following questions (from Sarah Batty, positivepsychology.com).
For a more in-depth and accurate way to figure out your strengths, we suggest you visit www.authentichappiness.com and complete the free survey on your VIA character strengths.
Let’s Build Your Signature Strengths
By making effort to use your strengths as often as possible you will experience increased happiness, a sense of ownership and validity whilst using it and, be able to learn or master things quicker. We are naturally drawn to using our strengths even is we are unaware of it.
Select your Top 5 signature strengths from the full list of 24 values below. Ask yourself if these values come naturally to you, give you energy or may even be widely expressed in your life already.
You can only select 5 signature strengths at a time.
Your Best Possible Self
Once you have identified your signature strengths, try and consciously use them as often as you can. You can find out more about your signature strengths and complete a questionnaire to identify them at www.viacharacter.org (be warned, it’s a long questionnaire!).
Remember that you can increase your happiness, life satisfaction and overall well-being by consciously using your character strengths. You can become your best possible self this way, thriving and flourishing at life.
A final Thought
Using our signature strengths are a pathway to full engagement and psychological flow. In other words, we will be happier and more satisfied with our lives if we consciously use our signature strengths.