The field of positive psychology focuses as much on strengths as it does on weaknesses. It also emphasizes nurturing the positive and amending the negative.  It stresses satisfying the lives of healthy people as well as on healing the wounds when you are burnt out.  (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000 as cited in Peterson & Park, 2004).

Positive psychology represents psychologists who had made an attempt to guide people to optimize their functioning in light of their strengths and as well as weaknesses.  They encourage people to look for environmental stressors as well as resources in the surroundings (as cited in Maddux, 2002).

Compared to other interventions, positive psychology highlights the positive part such as emotions, engagement and meaning rather than directly targeting the negative symptoms. Thus, in positive psychology, the question that arises is regarding good character definition. The book on human strength and positive values is entitled as “Character Strength and Virtues” by Peterson and Seligman.    This represents their effort to focus on and categorize the positive psychological attributes of individuals. Peterson and Seligman take the initiative in the psychology domain to focus on things that are better for people. They lay emphasis exclusively on the strength of character that contributes to the good life (Park, 2009).

This project “Values in Action (VIA)” initially classified and introduced consensual constituents of good character and then formulated ways to evaluate these components (As cited in Park, 2009). This project offers a theoretical framework that helps in the formulation and practical application of these components in positive psychology. VIA Classification of Character Strength is considered as the backbone in the discipline of psychology as it is comprised of six major classes of virtues that are further organized into 24 character strengths.

According to this project, Virtues is defined as the core characteristics that are given importance by psychologists, philosophers and intellectuals. These core virtues are considered universally and are important in resolving any significant problem or activity.  They are essential to the evolution and survival of human beings.

Character is defined as a set of positive characteristics that differs from culture to culture, is evolved and modified throughout history and is necessary for better and healthier lives. However, character strength is the procedure or system that defines the virtues. They are the constituents of the personality characteristics on which ethical values are based.

VIA Classification of Character Strength:

1)    Wisdom and knowledge:
It is one of the character strengths that involves the understanding, achievement and utilization of knowledge and information. It is classified into 6 categories that involve novel ideas and innovative thinking; inquisitiveness, thinking and examining things in critical manner i.e. taking perspective in the light of evidence. Moreover, it also involves the passion of learning and making efforts to do it on your own or with assistance.

2)    Courage:
It is referred to as an emotional strength that involves the ability to counter any difficulty or uncertainty and the strength to accomplish and goal without being averted from the preferred course of action. It involves values such as bravery, enthusiasm, authenticity and determination.

3)    Love:
It indicates tender feelings and possessing some kind of affection for someone. It includes possessing worth for the significant relationships and doing act of kindness for them. It also involves understanding and consciousness of others emotions, thoughts and motives.

4)    Justice:
It is defined as the fairness in acts especially in the manner in which people are dealt or decisions are made. High importance is placed on this character strength as it underlies a healthy social life.

5)    Temperance:
Temperance refers to restraining oneself from satiation. It involves values such as forgiveness and letting go the mistakes, inaccurate decisions and wrong acts of others. It also includes modesty, cautiousness in your choices and maintaining discipline in your actions.

6)    Transcendence:
It indicates going beyond the limit in terms of positive thoughts or beliefs. It includes valuing the beauty, paying gratitude to the good things, anticipating positive outcomes, exhibiting likelihood for play and spirituality.


Article Author: Smiljan Mori is the founder of MindOver™ Network, Brilliant solutions for Performance, Motivation and Happiness. He is also the creator of Big U Academy, , the Kitepreneur NetworkTM and Kitepreneur Lifestyle Academy. He has literally created a successful business and coaching empire from scratch and is a best-selling author and motivational speaker who brings unparalleled professional experience and the latest scientific research from neuroscience and positive psychology to audiences around the globe. He has shown more than 150,000 people from 50 countries how to change their lives for the better.

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Article References:
Motivaction For Life by Smiljan Mori

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