Find Your Strengths
According to positive psychologists Chris Peterson and Martin Seligman, there are 24 character strengths that could benefit our happiness and wellbeing.
Having any of these character strengths can be seen as a positive - but being able to use your top few strengths will help you be more engaged in what you do. This means that if you are looking to choose a career, it is worth identifying which traits would best match which careers. For example, courage and service might lead you to be a firefighter or police officer.
Survey of Character Strengths
The 24 character strengths are measured by the VIA Survey of Character Strengths . It is a free online test which takes about twenty minutes and you must register (the information is used for general study, such as listing the most common strengths for doctors, nurses or Australians, and never personally identified).
You can then use the results of the survey, which identify your character strengths, in your day-to-day life to achieve greater satisfaction and more flow states.
- Martin Seligman Study - American Army
Martin Seligman did a study of drill sergeants in the American Army. He described having an image of drill sergeants as he had seen them in movies in which they screamed abusively at the cowering new recruits. So he was shocked to find their number one strength was ‘the capacity to love and be loved'.
As he looked more closely he saw many of the drill sergeants had come from tough backgrounds, many were disadvantaged African-American or Hispanic, and they wanted to look after the recruits, helping them prepare for the challenges ahead.
As well as using these strengths to choose a career, it can help to look at how they might be used more in the career someone already has.