Before investing time or energy into developing your strengths, you might be wondering:
Why do character strengths even matter?

Your character strengths are internal capacities that reflect what’s best within you. They’re like superpowers because they not only are strengths, but also give you strength. They support you through life’s ups and downs, like when pursuing meaningful goals, navigating difficult challenges, and even living your ordinary day.

Below are 4 key reasons why your character strengths matter.

Research and experience demonstrate that character strengths add substantial value in the workplace, academics, relationships, parenting, health, and other key domains.

They’re strongly connected with the things you might value most in life such as vitality, positive relationships, meaningful work, and purpose. They’re also key tools to manage stress and anxiety.

Engaging character strengths is like putting deposits into a bank account. It helps you create more value, build reserves, and buffer the effects of withdrawals, like daily stressors.

We humans have a biological predisposition to notice what’s wrong – mistakes, failures, and weaknesses. A prominent research paper in psychology by Roy E. Baumeister is, in fact, titled, “Bad Is Stronger Than Good.” We know this to be true from our own emotions and experiences.

It’s not that we shouldn’t fix what’s wrong, but pursuing what’s strong tends to take a back seat even though it leads to desired outcomes beyond the fixing and improving.

As you express your unique blend of character strengths, you demonstrate a level of integrity and proficiency that comes naturally from within you. You might call this being “in the zone” where you feel confident, enlivened, unstoppable, or maybe just highly content. You might not be aware that your character strengths are in action during these times, but they are.

When applied deliberately, your essential and energizing character strengths can help you stretch into new levels of excellence and possibility.

Deliberately engaging character strengths elevates everyone. Whether you’re leading an organization, working on a team, helping others professionally, raising children, playing with your grandchildren, attending classes, or hanging with friends, integrating character strengths into your work and life will raise your effectiveness and energy to new levels.

A key challenge is that there isn’t a “one size fits all” strategy to get you there. Finding your best way forward to becoming more strengths-based is part of the fun. And the challenge.

What are Character Strengths?

Character strengths are 24 positive personality traits – like fairness and perseverance – that reflect who you are when at your most authentic, highest performing, best self. They are your go-to resources to elevate your work, relationships, and ability to feel good and function well in all domains of life.

This image depicts the VIA Classification of Character Strengths and Virtues, a groundbreaking, scientific framework of the 24 human traits that are valued around the world, across religions, and throughout history.

Each strength is classified into the virtue category it helps to cultivate. For instance, the character strength creativity cultivates wisdom, which helps you learn, grow, and create. The character strength bravery is a component of courage, which helps you accomplish goals and overcome obstacles. Kindness is part of the humanity virtue, which helps you build strong relationships.

The Science of Character

To hear more about the science behind the character strengths framework, tune into “The Science of Character,” a short video that will elevate your understanding of what they are and why they’re so important.