“What did you do as a child that made the hours pass like minutes? Herein lies the key to your earthly pursuits.”–Carl Jung, Swiss Psychiatrist
As we grow older, we sometimes loose those creative things we once did when we were young. I know this was the case with me. I loved making things, was a bit artistic and was involved in so many pursuits. As I got older and found interest in a social life and boys, I no longer played to my strengths and soon after marriage, a family and career, I found I lost them altogether. Now that I am older and once I retired, I again heard that creative calling…finding it hard to know exactly what my calling was or was going to be for the future. Fortunately, art found me! It crept back into my life very unexpectedly. So instead of finding flaws with myself, I found my forte. This led me to my love of painting and my zest for life.
A Survey of Character Strengths
As I was reading, I came across this chapter on flow and the “Inventory of Strengths”, a 120 question survey that is free online that helps us find our own individual signature strengths. Incredibly accurate, below is the list of all 24 signature character strengths. I was interested to see if I could recognize my strengths in following. Reprinted from www.viacharacter.org
Appreciation of beauty and excellence
You notice and enjoy beauty in many places (nature, art, music, etc.). You notice, and enjoy watching people who are talented or very skilled at what they do.
You do not avoid challenges or difficult situations. You speak up for what you think is right, even if others disagree with you.
You think of new and original ways of doing things.
You are interested in many things. You like to explore and discover new things.
You give everyone a fair chance. You treat others in a fair and just way.
You forgive those who have done wrong. You give people a second chance. You do not seek revenge against those who have wronged you.
You notice and appreciate the good things that happen. You take the time to express thanks to those who do nice things for you.
You expect good things to happen in the future. You work to make good things happen.
You like to laugh and make jokes. You like to bring a smile to people’s faces. You see humor in many situations.
You speak the truth. You allow others to see the “real you”. You are true to yourself. You take responsibility for what you do and say.
You enjoy doing favors and helping others. You enjoy taking care of other people.
You like to work with others and help them to get things done. You like to organize group activities and see that they happen.
You like being close to other people. You like to give love to others. You like receiving love from others.
Love of Learning
You enjoy learning new information. You enjoy learning how to do things.
You do not like to draw attention to yourself. You let you accomplishments speak for themselves (rather than pointing them out). You do not view yourself as better than others.
You like to think things through before making a decision. You look at all “sides” of a situation. You are ale to change your mind (if there is a good reason to do so). You listen to other people’s ideas.
You finish what you start. You find ways to overcome obstacles. You enjoy completing tasks.
You are able to give other people good advice. You are able to see the “big picture”.
You are careful in making decisions. You avoid taking unnecessary risks. You avoid doing or saying things that you later regret.
You avoid “over-doing” things (losing your temper, eating too much, etc.). You are able to keep things balanced in your life.
You know what to do to get along with different groups of people. You know what makes other people “tick”. You know why they do what they do. You are aware of other people’s thoughts and feelings.
You believe that you are part of a larger plan or purpose. You believe that your life has meaning and/or purpose. Your beliefs about life’s meaning/purpose gives you comfort and helps to guide your actions.
You work well as a member of a group or team. You always do your share of the work in a team or group. You are loyal to the groups or teams to which you belong.
You do what you do with energy.
I think many of us fall into more than one category, as I know I sure do. What I found from this survey is that knowing what our character strengths are is an emboldening experience. For each time we use them, we strengthen our character, which in turn boosts our well-being and puts our stamp on the world. This allows us to live a virtuous life rather than a virtual one. And a virtuous life is, as according to Aristotle, the ultimate route to happiness.
Do you recognize yourself in any of the traits listed above? I would love to hear about your character traits and what makes you tick.