The VIA Advantage: Learning to Play to Your Strengths
Our culture accentuates the negative. From report cards to annual performance reviews at work to television advertising, we most often hear what’s wrong with us, what our weaknesses are, where we fall short and what we need to do to improve. Wouldn’t it be amazing to live in a world where everyone’s strengths were recognized, validated, encouraged, and celebrated?Character Strengths and Virtues”.
In the field of positive psychology, these VIA, or Values in Action, are those strengths, which are practiced on an everyday basis. Many individuals “aspire” to achieve strength in certain values, such as spirituality, bravery, and open-mindedness, but may struggle with these character strengths daily. As part of your fundamental make-up, these strengths can be honed through regular practice.
Values in Action
The virtues studied by Seligman and Peterson are broken down into six qualities. They are:
- Wisdom and Knowledge
These six classifications are made up of 24 character strengths. These human virtues have been valued deeply by cultures dating back some 3000 years, and are still considered the “measure of a man” today. In conjunction with the current, and societally bound, norms and practices, these characteristics are expressed, and acted upon, in a way that is seen as valuable. In other words, “Values in Action.” As true talents are considered innate in an individual, certain character strengths can be brought to the surface and utilized to empower individuals to achieve their best.
Everyone has virtues, and character strengths, which help them to perform well. These strengths complement our personal talents, and, when honed and developed, so that they are second-nature, enable us to live happier, more productive lives, enhancing relationships in a positive way, and contributing to the betterment of families, schools, workplaces, and communities.
Determining your strengths, and using them in new ways each day, can help you live your potential, love what you do, and increase happiness. By taking a simple survey, you can assess your basic character strengths, and begin creating a more positive you. Your VIA Strengths can help you build your career, create stronger relationships, personally and professionally, and give you the confidence you need to achieve your goals, find success in any endeavor, and, as Dr. Seligman finds, achieve happiness.
Each of us has a unique and individual set of virtues, and strengths that make us the people we are. When we emphasize these attributes, we place the focus on what “can” be achieved. Developing our values doesn’t mean we ignore our weaknesses, it simply means, through VIA, we are able to have the advantage of utilizing our personal powerhouse, finding and realizing our own potential, as we have been designed.
Values in Team Building
As many an NFL, NBA, or NCAA champion coach can tell you, the success of a team depends on the combined strengths of the individual players. When you uncover the positive characteristics of the members of your team, you can use the unique configuration of these strengths to improve the performance of the collective group. Often, the VIA of one member serves as a springboard from which other members can foster and hone their own unique strengths.
Once you combine and complement the strengths of the members of the team, you will have a “force to be reckoned with”. These individuals come together as a high-functioning, productive and performance driven group. There is no other option but success when your team has the VIA advantage.
The concept of VIA is rooted in positive psychology. The science of positive psychology is ever-evolving, making character strength development, and the practice of values in action an ongoing process. Integrate the continued development of VIA into the daily lives of you, and your team, and you will always be ahead of the game.