From Character Comes Strength

People frequently look for good character in others, whether they are co-workers, classmates, friends, or potential romantic partners. Positive characteristics that imply good character are known as character strengths. In other words, character strengths are characteristics that highlight a person’s positive qualities as opposed to their flaws and problems.

Positive psychology holds that there are 24 character traits that are highly regarded as being indicative of excellent character. They are arranged according to six major virtues. Martin Seligman, PhD, and Neal Mayerson, PhD, first discovered these 24 character qualities. The Values In Action (VIA) Institute on Character, founded by Seligman and Mayerson, identifies the good character traits that everyone possesses (in varying degrees).

The Six Virtues

The six categories of virtues are—wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence—are split among the 24 character strengths. Here is a closer look at each of the six virtues and the accompanying positive character traits.


High wisdom scorers frequently possess cognitive prowess that encourages knowledge acquisition and innovative use of knowledge. The fundamental character traits of wisdom are:

  • Creativity: Being creative means coming up with novel ideas and methods.
  • Curiosity: This is the quality of being interested in many different things.
  • Open-mindedness: Thinking things through; examining things from all angles.
  • Love of learning: Having a passion for learning new subjects, abilities, and fields of study.
  • Perspective: Being able to provide others with intelligent advice and having a logical way of looking at the world.


Individuals with high courage scores have emotional character traits that enable them to overcome obstacles, both internal and external, in order to achieve their goals. Character qualities linked to courage include:

  • Honesty/ Integrity: Being sincere and truthful; speaking the truth
  • Bravery: This is accepting challenges, hardships, or discomfort but not cowering in the face of danger.
  • Persistence: Completing what has been started.
  • Zest: Having a zest for life and approaching everything with enthusiasm




High humanity scorers exhibit a variety of interpersonal character traits that include empathy and sociability. Some fundamental character traits are:

  • Kindness: Performing good deeds and favors.
  • Love: Respecting close relationships with others.
  • Social Intelligence: Understanding the intentions and feelings of others.


Justice-minded individuals frequently have civic virtues that emphasize the value of a vibrant community. The justice group’s character strengths are:

  • Fairness: Giving everyone the same treatment.
  • Leadership: Arranging group activities and seeing to it that they occur.
  • Teamwork: Collaborating effectively with others in a group or team.


High scorers in temperance frequently possess qualities that fortify them against life’s excesses. Some advantages are:

  • Forgiveness: Forgiving others who have wronged them.
  • Prudence: Refraining from actions that one would later regret; making wise decisions.
  • Modesty: Allowing one’s successes and accomplishments to stand on their own.
  • Self-Regulation: Having self-control; regulating one’s appetites and emotions.


Transcendentally inclined people often connect with entities like God, the universe, or religions that offer meaning, purpose, and understanding. The fundamentally advantageous traits connected to transcendence are:

  • Gratitude: Being grateful for the good things in life and taking the time to show gratefulness.
  • Appreciation of beauty: Observing and appreciating beauty and quality in everything.
  • Hope: Believing that wonderful things are possible; anticipating the best; attempting to make it happen.
  • Humor: Making others laugh or grin; taking pleasure in humor.
  • Spirituality: A firm conviction in a greater good and the meaning of life.

Examples to Understand Character Strengths

Let’s look at one strength in each virtue to get a sense of what these character strengths are and how they show up.

Curiosity, a quality that appears as a preference for exploration and discovery, falls under Wisdom and Knowledge. A person with this strength frequently asks inquiries since they are curious about everything.

Let’s think about integrity in relation to the virtue of courage. Those that possess this quality are usually committed to being honest and telling the truth. They put their best foot forward and appreciate being true and real.

Social intelligence, a skill based on understanding other people’s thoughts and feelings, falls under the category of humanity. A person who excels in social intelligence is likely to comprehend why individuals act in certain ways.

The quality of the virtue of justice is fairness. Those who have a strong sense of justice tend to treat others with respect, feel that all individuals have value, and approach issues with objectivity and impartiality.

Prudence belongs to the category of moderation/temperance and is defined by an eye toward the future. Individuals with this strength enjoy making thoughtful plans and carrying them out on a daily basis.

Finally, a trait that falls under the transcendence virtue is the appreciation of excellence and beauty. It appears as a propensity to appreciate the lovely and amazing things in this life. With this kind of power, one is unlikely to take anything for granted.

Evaluation of Character Strengths

The VIA Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS), which is appropriate for people ages 18 and older, or the VIA Inventory of Strengths—Youth Version (VIA-Youth), which is made for children ages 10 to 17, can be used to assess a person’s character strengths.

The classification of strengths aims to emphasize people’s positive traits rather than pathologize their flaws. It’s crucial to note that people often exhibit each positive character trait to varied degrees. In other words, they will excel in some areas while falling short in others.

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