I am a fan of assessments that provide some insight into who I am, and I have written about many such assessments previously.
One such assessment was the StrengthsFinder survey, which revealed the following as my top five strengths:
- Learner: People who are especially talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.
- Achiever: People who are especially talented in the Achiever theme have a great deal of stamina and work hard. They take great satisfaction from being busy and productive.
- Relator: People who are especially talented in the Relator theme enjoy close relationships with others. They find deep satisfaction in working hard with friends to achieve a goal. (This is probably the one that I would have never put in my top five.)
- Responsibility: People who are especially talented in the Responsibility theme take psychological ownership of what they say they will do. They are committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty.
- Futuristic: People who are especially talented in the Futuristic theme are inspired by the future and what could be. They inspire others with their visions of the future.
I also took the Myers Brigg Personality Type survey, and I was identified as an INTJ:
I’ve also taken a quiz to see if I have what it takes to be original; I scored a less than resounding 7 out of 15 on that one.
Then there was the two-part quiz that measured my Empathy and Systemizing Quotients (EQ and SQ).
On the EQ portion, I scored a 44, which put me in the following category: You have an average ability for understanding how other people feel and responding appropriately. You know how to treat people with care and sensitivity.
On the SQ portion, I scored a 29, which put me in the following category: You have an average ability for analyzing and exploring a system.
Nothing to write home about on those results either.
So I was excited to come across a new personality assessment survey.
The VIA Survey is a psychometrically validated personality test that measures an individual’s character strengths. Character strengths are viewed as our positive personality in that they are our core capacities for thinking, feeling, and behaving in ways that can bring benefit to us and others. Every individual possesses all 24 character strengths in different degrees, giving each person a unique character profile.
When applied effectively, they are beneficial both to you and society as a whole. They are different than your other strengths, such as your unique skills, talents, interest, and resources, because character strengths reflect the “real” you — who you are at your core.
I came across this survey while reading a story in today’s Philadephia Inquirer, Can you teach students to be happy? Colleges are trying.
The story talks of a course being offered for the first time this semester at the University of Pennsylvania named The Pursuit of Happiness and taught by psychology professor James Pawelski.
Martin Seligman, known as “the father of positive psychology,” founded the Penn Positive Psychology Center in 2003. He and Pawelski started the master’s of positive psychology program, the first graduate degree in the field, two years later.
Despite this groundbreaking start in the field of positive psychology, The Pursuit of Happiness course is the first large-scale class at Penn to focus on the practice of positive psychology, the scientific study of what goes well in life and how to cultivate more of it.
The course encourages students to try meditation or journaling, and teaches them to build stronger relationships, which are known to boost happiness. In addition, one of the core concepts of positive psychology is emphasizing individual strengths, so the character strength survey fits in nicely with such concepts.
The Philly Ink story also notes that at Temple University’s Resiliency Resource Center (RRC), students engaged in a group called mindfulness-based strengths practice take the character strength survey as a basis for helping students find ways to use those strengths to improve their lives.
So after reading the story, I was excited to take the test myself; here are what the survey identified as my top 10 strengths (you do get a brief report on all 24, rank-ordered):
- Love of learning: Mastering new skills, topics, and bodies of knowledge, whether on one’s own or formally; related to the strength of curiosity but goes beyond it to describe the tendency to add systematically to what one knows.
- Hope: Expecting the best in the future and working to achieve it; believing that a good future is something that can be brought about.
- Judgment: Thinking things through and examining them from all sides; not jumping to conclusions; being able to change one’s mind in light of evidence; weighing all evidence fairly.
- Humor: Liking to laugh and tease; bringing smiles to other people; seeing the light side; making (not necessarily telling) jokes.
- Self-Regulation: Regulating what one feels and does; being disciplined; controlling one’s appetites and emotions.
- Honesty: Speaking the truth but more broadly presenting oneself in a genuine way and acting in a sincere way; being without pretense; taking responsibility for one’s feelings and actions.
- Love: Valuing close relations with others, in particular, those in which sharing & caring are reciprocated; being close to people.
- Creativity: Thinking of novel and productive ways to conceptualize and do things; includes artistic achievement but is not limited to it.
- Fairness: Treating all people the same according to notions of fairness and justice; not letting feelings bias decisions about others; giving everyone a fair chance.
- Gratitude: Being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen; taking time to express thanks.
I find it quite interesting that there are such close parallels to these survey results and the StrengthsFinder results.
In both surveys, learning is my top strength. It also seems that Hope, my second strength here, seems to be similar to that of Futuristic. Honesty and Responsibility seem to be similar to each other as well.
There also seems to be a connection between the character results and the Myers-Brigg survey. Judgment is listed as a character strength, and Myers-Brigg indicates a strong preference for judging over perceiving.
So there you have it; now if I only could only figure out what to do with all this stuff I’m supposedly learning…