Friday, February 25, 2011

"Character Strengths"?

Got an email this morning from the "VIA Institute on Character."

"Research is clear," it announced. "Focusing on what's right with us is more effective than focusing on what's wrong. Switch your focus today!"

Given how much I struggle these days with feeling down, and knowing that one way to increase your level of happiness is to put your character strengths into practice, as often as possible, I swung by their website to take the VIA survey and find out my "Character Strengths."

My top strengths, in descending order, seem to be:
1) Curiosity and interest in the world
2) Capacity to love and be loved
3) Judgment, critical thinking, and open-mindedness
4) Fairness, equity, and justice
5) Humor and playfulness
I'm a little surprised by 3 and 4, to be honest. Maybe they're on my mind because of all the grading I've been up to recently. (That and the political Tweets I follow.) And I'm sorry to see "Humor and playfulness" last, below them, although that, too, may have as much to do with context as anything else.

I took this survey years ago, but I'm damned if I can remember how I did on it then. And I'm not entirely sure how I can put any of this to use in the immediate future. Maybe, though, it will make me feel better about giving out so many Cs to my students on their first round of papers. Fairness, equity, and justice, that's me.


Laura Vivanco said...

I've just discovered one of my "strengths": I guard my privacy by refusing to give away many of my personal details online. Unfortunately this means I can't fill in the survey to find out what any of my other strengths are.

E. M. Selinger said...

I believe that puts "Prudence" somewhere in your top 5, Laura!