For the last 200 years, psychology has been obsessed with the faults in our nature. Positive Psychology is a relatively new branch of the “soul-healing” science and it’s focus is on how we can nurture the better angels of our nature.
A group of psychological researches spent months reading the top 200 “virtue catalogues” Homo Sapiens have produced. The list includes Aristotle, Plato, Aquinas, Augustine, The Old Testament, the Talmud, Confucius, Buddha, Lao-Tze, Bushido, the Koran, Benjamin Franklin and the Upanishads. Their intent was to try finding common threads that weaved through all civilizations and traditions.
To their surprise and the surprise of their academic peers, whom all are persuaded by the postmodern notion of relativism, found 6 universal virtues that are echoed throughout all of these texts.
The Six Universal Virtues
- Wisdom and Knowledge
- Love and Humanity
- Spirituality and Transcendence
The Positive Psychology community believes that the universal six virtues are not genetically determined by birth, but are rather traits we can nurture and grow. Each of us has a unique amalgamation of these virtues in ourselves. They believe that each of the six universals are exemplified in our lives via 24 character strengthens. We each have a few character strengths that define our personality, and the discovery of these strengths is the bedrock for creating a Good Life for yourself.
So the first step is discovering what your Signature Strengths are. Martin Seligman, Ph.D, has such a test on his website, authentichappiness. Take the VIA survey before proceeding.
The test will take about 25 minutes. After you answer the 240 questions, the test will show you what your top five Signature Strengths are. Knowing this is extremely valuable. With these 5 strengths in mind, you can craft your work, love, and parenting lives
Here are my results;
Your Top Strength
Although you may not think of yourself as wise, your friends hold this view of you. They value your perspective on matters and turn to you for advice. You have a way of looking at the world that makes sense to others and to yourself.
Your Second Strength
You are aware of the good things that happen to you, and you never take them for granted. Your friends and family members know that you are a grateful person because you always take the time to express your thanks.
Spirituality, sense of purpose, and faith –
You have strong and coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe. You know where you fit in the larger scheme. Your beliefs shape your actions and are a source of comfort to you.
Honesty, authenticity, and genuineness –
You are an honest person, not only by speaking the truth but by living your life in a genuine and authentic way. You are down to earth and without pretense; you are a “real” person.
Curiosity and interest in the world –
You are curious about everything. You are always asking questions, and you find all subjects and topics fascinating. You like exploration and discovery.
Dr. Seligman’s main thesis is; implementing our Signature Strengths in our work, relationships, and parenting lives will create the most impact on our view of our lives. In coming posts, I’ll show how we can metaprogram our lives using our Signature Strengths.
I’d be fascinated by what the test reveals as your Signature Strengths. Please share them with me if you’d like. Thank you for reading and more to come.