Martin Seligman, author of Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being, maintains a website, Authentic Happiness under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania. After reading Flourish, I was curious about one of the assessment tools that he touts in the book, the “VIA Survey of Character Strengths,” which measures 24 character strengths. Seligman contends that nurturing the positive aspects of our character can lead to true well-being, and the survey helps you to identify exactly what those strengths are.
The site asks you to log in initially (free of charge) before you begin the survey. The survey can be accessed from the right side of the home page under the “Surveys” heading. The test consists of 240 questions—sounds like a lot, but you can click right through them in just a few minutes. The site then generates a profile of your greatest strengths. I enjoyed reviewing my own results, but the biggest payoff came when I persuaded some friends and colleagues to take the test. Several of them shared their results. Suddenly, each of those dear people popped into remarkably clear focus. Had you asked me to describe their strengths, I might have gotten around to most of them, but seeing their results clarified for me exactly why I like each of them so much. I found myself appreciating them in more specific ways, and I felt more grateful for knowing each.
This could be a great team-building activity for a professional group or a way for friends and family to bond more closely. It might be an interesting activity in a number of classes. Happy clicking. Tell us what you learn about yourself and others when you try it.
- Beginning with a “Flourish” (pleasureinlearning.com)
- The Power of Positive Psychology (everydayhealth.com)
- Strong. Stronger. Signature Strengths. What are yours? (mappalicious.com)