The 24 personal strengths listed here are the character traits that express our core values. When we use and develop them in the various areas of our lives, we feel energized, purposeful, and real.
The strengths are organized according to the six core virtues that appear in the major religious and philosophical traditions across the centuries. To live in alignment with them, these belief systems agree, is truly to live the Good Life.
To learn how to identify your key strengths, see: What’s Right With You: Discover Your Personal Strengths.
Wisdom and Knowledge
- Curiosity/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.
- Love of Learning: You love learning new things, whether in a class or on your own. You have always loved school, reading, and museums-anywhere and everywhere there is an opportunity to learn.
- Judgment/Critical Thinking/Open-Mindedness: Thinking things through and examining them from all sides are important aspects of who you are. You do not jump to conclusions, and you rely only on solid evidence to make your decisions. You are able to change your mind.
- Creativity/Ingenuity/ Originality/Practical Intelligence/Street Smarts: Thinking of new ways to do things is a crucial part of who you are. You are never content with doing something the conventional way if a better way is possible.
- Social Intelligence/Personal Intelligence/Emotional Intelligence: You are aware of the motives and feelings of other people. You know what to do to fit in to different social situations and you know what to do to put others at ease.
- Perspective (Wisdom): 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.
- Valor and Bravery: You are a courageous person who does not shrink from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain. You speak up for what is right even if there is opposition. You act on your convictions.
- Perseverance/Industry/Diligence: You work hard to finish what you start. No matter the project, you “get it out the door” in timely fashion. You do not get distracted when you work, and you take satisfaction in completing tasks.
- Integrity/Genuineness/Honesty: 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.
Humanity and Love
- Kindness and Generosity: You are kind and generous to others, and you are never too busy to do a favor. You enjoy doing good deeds for others, even if you do not know them well.
- Loving and Allowing Oneself to be Loved: You value close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated. The people to whom you feel most close are the same people who feel most close to you.
- Citizenship/Duty/Teamwork/Loyalty: You excel as a member of a group. You are a loyal and dedicated teammate, you always do your share, and you work hard for the success of your group.
- Fairness and Equity: Treating all people fairly is one of your abiding principles. You do not let your personal feelings bias your decisions about other people. You give everyone a chance.
- Leadership: You excel at the tasks of leadership: encouraging a group to get things done and preserving harmony within the group by making everyone feel included. You do a good job organizing activities and seeing that they happen.
- Self-Control: You self-consciously regulate what you feel and what you do. You are a disciplined person. You are in control of your appetites and your emotions, not vice versa.
- Prudence/Discretion/Caution: You are a careful person, and your choices are consistently prudent ones. You do not say or do things that you might later regret.
- Humility and Modesty: You do not seek the spotlight, preferring to let your accomplishments speak for themselves. You do not regard yourself as special, and others recognize and value your modesty.
- Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence: You notice and appreciate beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in all domains of life, from nature to art to mathematics to science to everyday experience.
- Gratitude: 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.
- Hope/Optimism/Future-Mindedness: You expect the best in the future, and you work to achieve it. You believe that the future is something that you can control.
- Spirituality/Sense of Purpose/Faith/Religiousness: 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.
- Forgiveness and Mercy: You forgive those who have done you wrong. You always give people a second chance. Your guiding principle is mercy and not revenge.
- Playfulness and Humor: You like to laugh and tease. Bringing smiles to other people is important to you. You try to see the light side of all situations.
- Zest/Passion/Enthusiasm: Regardless of what you do, you approach it with excitement and energy. You never do anything halfway or halfheartedly. For you, life is an adventure.