Character strengths have been declared the ‘backbone of Positive Psychology’. From the combined efforts of Dr Martin Seligman, Dr Neal Mayerson and Dr Chris Peterson, the VIA (Values in Action) classification of character strengths was developed to describe 24 key character strengths that in varying degrees make up our unique profile. Characteristics that define what is best about people have been recognised as a key construct in the field of positive psychology.
Following the completion of the VIA classification system, the VIA survey was developed to measure these strengths in individuals. This remains offered as a free survey by the VIA Institute, encouraging people to measure their character strengths so that they may use this information to lead happy and fulfilling lives.
Dr Martin Seligman explains that the 24 Character Strengths, grouped into 6 key virtues, can be viewed as the pathways to each of his five defined areas of wellbeing, PERMA:
- Positive Emotions
Things to consider when completing the survey:
1. You get out what you put in – be honest in your completion to get the most accurate results. Despite how you do answer the questions, it is still a great reflection opportunity.
2. Your results may change slightly each time you complete this survey, however, often you will find that your first ten character strengths are fairly stable, even if they are not in the same order.
3. You can strengthen character strengths that you would like to develop. The first five strengths are usually the main focus of an individual’s strengths, however, if you are keen to develop a strength each strength overview provides suggested activities to develop the strength.