Character Strengths Talk to someone who can help!

Character Strengths and Virtues attempts to classify positive psychological traits that may distinguish one person from another. It was intended to be used in the same way that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has been used to classify and describe a variety of mental illnesses. The Values in Action list of 24 character strengths were identified as being fulfilling, and relatively stable in an individual over time.

  • Strengths are measurable and relatively stable over time.
  • Present in some and absent in other individuals.
  • Strengths are intrinsically valuable.
  • Each strength represents a unique trait-like quality.
  • Valued as positive trait cross-culturally.
  • Free version of test at

Values in action character strengths

Creativiity, originality, ingenuity

img Thinking of novel and productive ways to conceptualize and do things; includes artistic achievement but is not limited to it "

Curiosity, interest, novelty seeking, open to experience

img Taking an interest in ongoing experience for its own sake; finding subjects and topics fascinating; exploring and discovering."

Judgment, critical thinking

img 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

Love of Learning

img Mastering new skills, topics, and bodies of knowledge, whether on one's own or formally; obviously related to the strength of curiosity but goes beyond it to describe the tendency to add systematically to what one knows .

perspective, wisdom

img Being able to provide wise counsel to others; having ways of looking at the world that make sense to oneself and to other people .

Bravery, valor

img Not shrinking from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain; speaking up for what is right even if there is opposition; acting on convictions even if unpopular; includes physical bravery but is not limited to it .

Perseverance, persistence, industriousness

img Finishing what one starts; persisting in a course of action in spite of obstacles; “getting it out the door”; taking pleasure in completing task.

Honesty, authenticity, integrity

img 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.

Zest, vitality, enthusiasm, vigor, energy

img Approaching life with excitement and energy; not doing things halfway or halfheartedly; living life as an adventure; feeling alive and activated


img Valuing close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated; being close to people .

Kindness, generosity, nurturance, care, compassion, altruism, "niceness"

img Doing favors and good deeds for others; helping them; taking care of them.

Social intelligence, emotional intelligence, personal intelligence

img Being aware of the motives and feelings of other people and oneself; knowing what to do to fit into different social situations; knowing what makes other people tick.

Teamwork, citizenship, social responsibility, loyalty

img Working well as a member of a group or team; being loyal to the group; doing one's share.


img Treating all people the same according to notions of fairness and justice; not letting personal feelings bias decisions about others; giving everyone a fair chance.


img Encouraging a group of which one is a member to get things done, and at the same time maintaining good relations within the group; organizing group activities and seeing that they happen.


img Forgiving those who have done wrong; accepting the shortcomings of others; giving people a second chance; not being vengeful.


img Letting one's accomplishments speak for themselves; not regarding oneself as more special than one is.


img Being careful about one's choices; not taking undue risks; not saying or doing things that might later be regretted.

Self-regulation, self-control

img Regulating what one feels and does; being disciplined; controlling one's appetites and emotions.

Appreciation of beauty & excellence, awe, wonder, elevation

img Noticing and appreciating beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in various domains of life, from nature to art to mathematics to science to everyday experience.


img Being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen; taking time to express thanks.

Hope, optimism, future-mindedness, future orientation

img Expecting the best in the future and working to achieve it; believing that a good future is something that can be brought about.

Humor, playfulness

img Liking to laugh and tease; bringing smiles to other people; seeing the light side; making (not necessarily telling) jokes.

Spirituality, faith, purpose

img Having coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe; knowing where one fits within the larger scheme; having beliefs about the meaning of life that shape conduct and provide comfort.

Descriptions adapted from VIA Institute, Character Classifications with permission. © 2004-2014 VIA® Institute on Character; All Rights Reserved