If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ve become familiar with various examples of character strengths, as well as the complexity involved in understanding character. These positive characteristics of personality are different from other types of strength, such as talents (what you do well), interests (what you enjoy doing), and resources (your external supports). Character strengths are viewed as “who you are,” in other words, they make up part of your core identity. Here’s a breakdown of several of the types of strengths that you possess:
Types of Strengths
- Character strengths are capacities for thinking, feeling, willing, and behaving. They reflect what is best in you and can be viewed as part of your positive identity. The 24 strengths (e.g., fairness, hope, kindness, leadership) in the widespread VIA Classification are the best examples of this type of strength.
- Talents are strengths that are innate abilities, which typically have a strong biological loading, and may or may not be well-developed (e.g., intelligence, musical ability, athletic ability).
- Skills are strengths that are specific proficiencies developed through training (e.g., learning a particular trade; computing skills; researching skills).
- Interests are strengths that are areas or topics you are passionate about and driven to pursue, such as playing sports, engaging in particular hobbies, and working with arts or crafts.
- Values are enduring beliefs, principles, or ideals that are of prime importance to you. Values reside in your thoughts and feelings, not behavior. E.g., your value for family, your value for hard work.
- Learning styles are ideas or hypotheses about how people approach new material, e.g., you might be reflective in how you learn a particular subject, or you might be more interpersonal in your style because you want to receive new learnings through discussion rather than reading.
- Resources are the one type of strength that is external. These are your external supports, such as social and spiritual connections, living in a safe neighborhood, and being part of a good family.
One Category Serves as the Driving Force