Discovering Our Unique Character Strengths
Yesterday, we explored the idea of human flourishing by living with virtue. Today we are going to take a deeper look into the concept of virtues.
In Brian Johnson’s year-long course Optimize Mastery course, he challenges us to consider universal virtues and to discover our unique virtues.
One tool to help us discover our unique virtues or character strengths is to take a short survey on the viacharacter.org website.
Brian also does a nice job of synthesizing the universal virtues.
He starts with Plato’s four Cardinal virtues:
1: wisdom: the ability to discern the appropriate course of action in any situation
2: courage: the ability to confront fear
3: temperance: the practice of self-mastery, having self-control
4: justice: the Greek word meaning righteousness; not just treating others fairly, but love
The positive psychologists add two additional virtues:
5: Transcendence: a connection to the larger world; sense of purpose
6: Humanity: interpersonal strength that helps one befriend others and tend to relationships
Positive psychologists then expanded their list of six virtues into a total 24 sub-virtues.
From this list, Brian keys in on four primary virtues:
1: Wisdom: May I know the game I’m playing and may I know how to play it well
2: Self-mastery: May I play the game well today
3: Courage – May I act in the presence of fear
4: Love: May I be kind, generous, present, and encouraging.
He then adds four additional virtues which are most correlated with human flourishing:
5: Hope: May I believe the future will be better than the present because I will do whatever it takes to make it so
6: Gratitude: May I deeply appreciate… everything
7: Curiosity: May I see what’s working and what needs work
8: Zest: May I be energized to give the world all I’ve got
Reflection: Which virtues best describe how I am at my best?