Follow Your Bliss

Interests and character strengths are two natural energy resources within us. What would your life be like if you maximized both? How might you merge the two together?

Understand Your Strengths

Digging deeper into commonly misunderstood character strengths such as humility, prudence, spirituality, leadership, judgment, and creativity

Well-Doing + Well-Being for Children

Educators and teachers have become too focused on behavioral “well-doing” and not sufficiently focused on experiential “well-being.” The key of social-emotional learning is to bridge the two.

The Strengths of the Gone Girl Psychopath

Delving into the dark side of character by examining character strengths misuse among the psychopathic character of Amy Dunne in Gone Girl.

Character Strengths and Your Career

Traditional career counseling focuses on many different categories of strength, such as interests, skills, and talents. What is rarely discussed in career counseling is strengths of character.

Three Ways to Improve the Development of Your Strengths

Have your strengths ever gotten you into trouble at work? Have your strengths ever collided with a colleague's strengths and made your relationship more tense?

The Many Benefits of Showing Appreciation

Learn what the latest science says about appreciation and some practical tips!

Character Education: Molding Clay or Planting Seeds?

What is the next step for character education? What is our underlying philosophy in how we view students? The dominant approach in character education is an approach and philosophy of prescription (e.g., build up these 3-5 character qualities in all students). This is in direct contrast with an approach of description.

Top 6 Misconceptions About Strengths

Many, if not most, practitioners refer to themselves as “strengths-based.” However, the word strengths has become a generic term that does not have universal meaning. What follows are 6 common misconceptions people have about strengths.

Are the Best Things in Life Free?

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” This was (and is) one of my father’s favorite phrases. He was usually right. This adage helped me to balance my signature strength of curiosity with a healthy skepticism (the strength of judgment) and caution (the strength of prudence). But, let me offer you a rare exception in which this phrase does not apply...

Myers-Briggs or VIA Survey (Character Strengths)?

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the VIA Survey are two of the most popular tests in psychology for both personal and professional use. There are some similarities but many important differences to understand. These are offered as well as ideas for integration.

Do This One Simple Thing to Boost the Mood of Others

During one of the hospital rounds, a team of three doctors came in and went through the standard questions, comments, and advice. Nothing new. But one doctor did something different: With her Irish dialect she offered some observations of my son over the days. She made describing him, I caught the words: “vibrant,” “hard-working,” and “inquisitive."

Divergent: Use the Movie to Create the Best Version of You

Divergent — the best fictional portrayal of character strengths written — has become a popular movie and franchise. Divergent is a marvelous opportunity for strengths enthusiasts to look closely at issues relating to strength and virtue. Take both the Divergent test and the VIA Survey. Compare the results and deeper your self-knowledge!

What You are Missing When You See a Person with a Disability

If there was ever a day to start spotting strengths, it is today. Today is World Down Syndrome Day. This day promotes awareness and understanding of Down syndrome. Thus, why not promote the character strengths of people with Down syndrome?

Character Day – Free Inspiring Movie on Character Strengths

Who am I? Who do I want to become? These are questions asked by humans throughout history. Now there is a new film that explores these questions. Join people all over the world today in premiering Tiffany Shlain's new film The Science of Character. The 8 minute film explores the social science and neuroscience behind character development and how we can shape who we are.

Celebrate “International Day of Happiness" Tomorrow

International Day of Happiness is celebrated each year on March 20th. It began two years ago after being established by the United Nations. What will you do to celebrate the day? Staying true to the practical nature of this blog, I offer a variety of ideas and practices through different links and resources.

Boosting Happiness: One of the Best Exercises You Can Do

One of the most popular exercises in the science of positive psychology is referred to as “use your signature strengths in new ways.” But what does this exercise mean? How do you make the most of it to benefit yourself and others? Here are some ways to make this exercise work for you!

Love: Important Tips to Remember

In addition to the giving and receiving of love on this day, what other strengths are important? Here's a challenge for you: Take a look at the VIA Classification list and identify any character strength that is not relevant to building a good, lasting relationship. (I suspect you won't find any.)

Talk About Your Strengths! 8 Reasons Why You Should (Part 2)

There are a number of reasons why the open sharing of your best qualities—the non-avoidance of your character strengths—is important. Here are eight reasons.

Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967-2014): A Tribute

Yesterday, Hollywood lost one of its greatest actors, and a personal favorite of my wife and me. The talented actor Philip Seymour Hoffman tragically died yesterday of a drug overdose in his New York City home. Viewers treated to his performances witnessed diverse, deep characters. His trademark was portraying characters who work their way through a wide range of emotions.

Talk About Your Strengths! It is Not Immodest (Part 1)

As I ask people around the world to talk about their character strengths, it is not uncommon for me to hear people comment—“I can’t talk about my strengths. That would be immodest.” Another common response is—“we don’t do that in our culture.” These statements, while not completely untrue, are usually avoidance tactics.

The Nature and Nurture of Our Character Strengths

It is probably not useful to ask the age-old question whether our core strengths of character are more a product of our genes or our environment. When it comes to our personality, the answer is almost always “both are important.” Instead of viewing which is “more,” we can attempt to learn from both sides and make this immediately practical.

Top 5 Blog Posts of 2013

Here are the 5 most popular blog posts on character strengths from 2013. The most popular entries are those that are very practice-oriented, outlining step-by-step approaches for particular exercises. Those that relay lists of research findings in the science of positive psychology are also well-received.

VIA Survey or StrengthsFinder?

Compares and contrasts the VIA Survey (VIA Institute on Character) and the StrengthsFinder tool (Gallup Organization), the two dominant strengths assessment instruments in the field. Want to work with your strengths, a client's strengths, or the strengths within an organization or school? Read this blog post first.

The First Question You Should Ask Yourself After a Meeting

Have you ever evaluated your automatic thoughts after a meeting? It might not be pretty. This story depicts a shift offering a positive, realistic, and helpful approach to oneself.

The 5 Happiness Strengths

The science of positive psychology has revealed several character strengths that are particularly connected with higher levels of happiness. Over and over again studies show these five strengths might be considered “the happiness strengths.”

You Have Many Different Kinds of Strength

Character strengths are positive characteristics of personality that differ from other types of strength, such as talents (what you do well), interests (what you enjoy doing), and resources (your external supports). Here's a breakdown of the various categories of strength.

Cultivate a Virtuous Circle

Sometimes people in the world of strengths make this comment: “I already use my strengths. Why should I bother to use them more?” Here’s a story to explain why...

New Happiness Strategy

When it comes to creating more happiness in life, experts usually tell us to add more things—get a dog, build a friendship, add a gratitude list, etc. But, what about taking things away? Subtraction. Could that actually make us happier?

5 Lesser-Known Tips for a Positive Relationship

The topic of positive relationships is not a simple, contrived answer, like you would find in a formulaic Hollywood romance script. However, science has revealed some interesting findings. Check out these 5 tips!