Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Character Counts

A while back I heard about the Via Institute on Character, an organization founded to advance the science and practice of character development.  They've produced several assessments that help people figure out their positive strengths. Yesterday I took their Survey of Character and learned what my Signature Strengths are.

Via's Survey of Character test measures 24 characteristics that define what’s best about people in the broad categories of Wisdom and Knowledge, Courage, Humanity,  Justice, Temperance, and Transcendence. The easy assessment had 240 questions, and took about a half hour.  I had to figure out how each statement described what I was like on a five point scale, from Very Much Like Me to Very Much Unlike Me, and the directions reminded me that the results would only be useful if I answered the questions truthfully.  It seemed like some of the questions showed up more than once, restated in a slightly different way each time.

When I was finished with the test, I received a report that described my character strengths in order from strongest to weakest.  The top five strengths are characterized as Signature Strengths, the ones that are most dominant in my life, but the report noted that my lower strengths were only lesser in comparison. Each strength was accompanied by a brief sketch of the meaning of each strength. For example:
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.
I was a bit surprised (but pleased) by the results. They helped me understand why I feel certain ways and do certain things.  Tony also took the test, and it was interesting to see the similarities and differences in our reports.


  1. I love stuff like this, thanks for sharing. A bit of self-knowledge never hurts.

  2. Just bookmarked the site and will get back to it when I have the half hour...I like your results...sort of left and right brain. Awesome character traits. Thanks for sharing this site.

  3. How fun! I have a feeling I'd score high in appreciating beauty, too! :)

  4. These sort of tests are interesting to do, I also have wondered if the questions were checking ones honesty which in all fairness... well wouldn't be fair. If I do a lengthy test and get tired half way through I just might read the same question in a different manner and answer differently, does that mean that I'm not truthful?