The field of positive psychology invites us to explore our character strengths using a free assessment tool called the VIA Survey. Developed by the founder of positive psychology, Dr. Martin Seligman, and his friend, Dr. Christopher Peterson, in collaboration with 55 scientists, the survey situates 24 character strengths within six virtues: wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence. The assessment helps us identify different groupings of our strengths, highlighting our “signature strengths,” then ranking our middle and lower strengths.
Education director at the VIA Institute on Character, Dr. Ryan Niemiec, explains that lower strengths are not personal flaws; lower strengths just don’t energize, excite or come as easily for us as our signature strengths do. According to Dr. Niemiec, similar to our unique handwritten signature, 5.1 million constellations of the Top 5 signature strengths exist. Thus, each of us possesses a configuration of strengths that make us distinctively situated to contribute to the legal profession in a particularly impactful way. One scientific study indicated that people highly aware of their strengths were nine times more likely to be flourishing, and people who used their strengths were 18 times more likely to be thriving!
What are my Top 5 “signature” character strengths (as identified by the VIA Institute on Character)? How do I use my signature strengths daily or weekly?
© Heidi K. Brown 2023
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