As part of my MSc in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) I am doing an assignment focused on developing my key character strengths. Amazingly I am free to choose an area of PP which I find interesting and relevant to my life, look into the theory and apply elements of it to my day to day life over the next 6-8 weeks and then report back. It doesn't feel like work so far, not in the sense that I have ever experienced it before anyway!
To start with we have learned about what constitutes a character strength and have been encouraged to come up with our own definitions and labels for what we feel are our strengths/character traits. It feels strange as we are all programmed to value modesty above them all so feels a bit like showing off even to admit them to yourself.
According to the experts, a strength could be defined as a talent which you show good or great performance and that you find energising. My gut told me that my strengths would probably relate to how I love to express myself, either through speaking, writing, arguing, shopping, the way I dress and the way I like to make and craft things. I wasn't far off...
Taking a strengths identifier test can reveal how you are realising, using, and prioritising your strengths. The first test I took was the Values in Action Character Strengths Test (www.viacharacter.org). On answering a scientifically based questionnaire, this free tool reports back on your top 5 signature strengths and how you are prioritising all 24 strengths defined as by comprehensive research into characteristics which are valued as virtues across the majority of the world's cultures over recorded history.
My top 5 strengths were:
2. Judgement or Critical Thinking
4. Love of Learning
5. Social Intelligence
My lowest ones FYI were Hope, Spirituality and Zest (something to work on).
When I contrasted these results with a different test - the Strengths Profile (available from £10+VAT from www.strengthsprofile.com) which adds the dimension of how often and how energised you feel when you use a subset of 60 strengths. The profile available from the individual (basic) report confirmed that my key realised (often used) strengths were in Personal Growth, Curiosity, Writing and Explaining and that I have further under utilised strengths in Persuasion and Mission (living with purpose).
I decided to base my assignment around this blog - which will challenge me to marshall my self expression based strengths and hopefully implicitly start to develop my sense of mission and purpose as I go.
Using and developing your strengths has been shown to improve your wellbeing, the ultimate aim of this assignment is to test this hypothesis. Watch this space for regular updates/meanderings...
I decided to base my assignment around this blog - which will challenge me to marshal my self expression based strengths and hopefully implicitly start to develop my sense of mission and purpose as I go.