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strengths and virtues. positive psychology.

Stumbled across this great article on strengths and virtues from a blog called The Mouse Trap

Strengths and Virtues

Positive psychology is based on the premise that it is equally important to study what is good in life as it is to study what goes wrong. Positive psychology thus focuses on building and capitalizing on existing strengths of people while not focusing too much on their weaknesses, which has been focus of the traditional pathological view of humans.
Martin Seligman, the founding father of positive psychology, and Christopher Peterson, accordingly, have developed a Values In Action (VIA)-character strengths inventory and classification scheme to measure and classify the virtues or character strengths in a taxonomic system. It is a 240 items self-report measure that identifies 24 character strengths and orders them as per their predominance in a person’s life. These 24 character strengths are further classified in 6 broad virtues. I am reproducing teh 6 broad virtues and the 24 character strengths below:

Wisdom and Knowledge- Cognitive strengths that entail the acquisition and use of knowledge
Creativity: Thinking of novel and productive ways to conceptualize and do things
Curiosity: Taking an interest in ongoing experience for its own sake
Open-mindedness: Thinking things through and examining them from all sides
Love of learning: Mastering new skills, topics, and bodies of knowledge
Perspective: Being able to provide wise counsel to others

Courage-Emotional strengths that involve the exercise of will to accomplish goals in the face of opposition, external and internal
Bravery: Not shrinking from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain
Persistence: Finishing what one starts; persisting in a course of action in spite of obstacles
Integrity: Speaking the truth but more broadly presenting oneself in a genuine way
Vitality: Approaching life with excitement and energy; not doing anything halfheartedly

Humanity-Interpersonal strengths that involve tending and befriending others
Love: Valuing close relations with others, in particular those in which caring is reciprocated
Kindness: Doing favors and good deeds for others; helping them; taking care of them
Social intelligence: Being aware of the motives and feelings of other people and oneself

Justice- Civic strengths that underlie healthy community life
Citizenship: Working well as a member of a group or team; being loyal to a group
Fairness: Treating all people the same according to the notions of fairness and justice
Leadership: Encouraging a group of which one is a member to get things done

Temperance-Strengths that protect against excess
Forgiveness and mercy: Forgiving those who have done wrong; accepting others’ faults
Humility/Modesty: Letting one’s accomplishments speak for themselves
Prudence: Being careful about one’s choices; not taking undue risks
Self-regulation: Regulating what one feels and does; being disciplined

Transcendence-Strengths that forge connections to the larger universe and provide meaning
Appreciation of beauty and excellence: Noticing and appreciating beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in various domains of life
Gratitude: Being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen
Hope: Expecting the best in the future and working to achieve it
Humor: Liking to laugh and tease; bringing smiles to other people
Spirituality: Having coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe

Seligman and Peterson arrived at these strengths via an esoteric route: they analyzed the major ethical and religious teachings of major eastern (Taoism, Confucianism, Hinduism and Buddhism) and western (Judaism, Christianity, Athenian virtues and Islamic) religions and going by the authoritative texts of these religions tried to find universal and ubiquitous character strengths or virtues. They themselves and others performed factor analysis on their 240 item questionnaire, and data obtained from different people who answered the questionnaire, and obtained at different time 5 factor or 4 factor solutions.

Seligman and Peterson themselves identify the following five factors from exploratory factor analysis:

strengths of restraint (fairness, humility, mercy, prudence)
intellectual strengths (e.g., creativity, curiosity, love of learning, appreciation of beauty)
interpersonal strengths (e.g., kindness, love, leadership, teamwork, playfulness)
emotional strengths (e.g., bravery, hope, self-regulation, zest)
theological strengths (e.g., gratitude, spirituality)

"What we call here strengths of restraint correspond closely to virtues of temperance; intellectual strengths correspond to virtues of wisdom and knowledge; interpersonal strengths collapse the virtues of humanity and justice; emotional strengths correspond to virtues of courage; and the theological strengths are included among our transcendence virtues."

Dahlsgaard, K., Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. (2005). Shared Virtue: The Convergence of Valued Human Strengths Across Culture and History. Review of General Psychology, 9 (3), 203-213 DOI: 10.1037/1089-2680.9.3.203

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Comment by steve on August 9, 2013 at 9:31pm
Some cabalalistic correspondences may be the following

Intellectual strength : atziluth world of emanation , fire
Emotional strength : briah world of creation , water
Interpersonal strength : yetzirah world of formation , air
Temperance strength : assiah world of that which is made , the result , earth
Theological strength : the one between the four , the fifth element , spirit

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