STRENGTHS & DEFINITIONS

Character Strengths and Virtues by Seligman and Peterson provided the construct and beginning definitions of the 24 Positive Psychology character strengths. Seligman and Peterson’s definitions were revised and personalized in 2016 by McGrath.

The Liston Group’s own research informed some of these definitions. These edits are in italic.

We have also made the following changes:

  • 4 strengths that we believe complete comprehensive character training were added: Responsibility, Awareness, Respect, and Peace. 
  • Positive Psychology strengths of Judgment, Perspective, and Prudence were covered by C2 strengths of Tolerance & Insight and Wisdom & Decision-Making. 
  • Certain pairs of Positive Psychology strengths were combined into one lession: Curiosity & Creativity and Awe & Humor. 

Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence

You notice the beauty and excellence around you; you are often awe-struck by beauty, greatness, and/or the moral goodness you witness; you are often filled with wonder.

Bravery/Courage

You face your fears and overcome challenges and adversity; you stand up for what is right; you do not shrink in the face of pain or inner tension or turmoil.

Creativity

You are viewed as a creative person; you see, do, and/or create things that are of use; you think of unique ways to solve problems and be productive.

Curiosity

You are an explorer; you seek novelty; you are interested in new activities, ideas, and people; you are open to new experiences.

Fairness/Openmindedness

You believe strongly in an equal and just opportunity for all; you don’t let personal feelings bias your decisions about others; you treat people the way you want to be treated.

Forgiveness/Mercy

You readily let go of hurt after you are wronged; you give people a second chance; you are not vengeful or resentful; you accept people’s shortcomings.

Gratitude

You regularly experience and express thankfulness; you don’t take the good things that happen in your life for granted; you tend to feel blessed in many circumstances.

Honesty

You are a person of high integrity and authenticity; you tell the truth, even when it hurts; you present yourself to others in a sincere way; you take responsibility for your actions.

Hope/Optimism

You are optimistic, expecting the best to happen; you believe in and work toward a positive future; you can think of many pathways to reach your goals.

Modesty/Humility

You let your accomplishments speak for themselves; you see your own goodness but prefer to focus the attention on others; you do not see yourself as more special than others; you admit your imperfections.You let your accomplishments speak for themselves; you see your own goodness but prefer to focus the attention on others; you do not see yourself as more special than others; you admit your imperfections.

Humor

You are playful; you love to make people smile and laugh; your sense of humor helps you connect closely to others; you brighten gloomy situations with fun and/or jokes.

Judgment/Critical Thinking

You are analytical; you examine things from all sides; you do not jump to conclusions, but instead attempt to weigh all the evidence when making decisions.

Kindness

You do good things for people; you help and care for others; you are generous and giving; you are compassionate.

Leadership

You positively influence those you lead; you prefer to lead than to follow; you are very good at organizing and taking charge for the collective benefit of the group.You positively influence those you lead; you prefer to lead than to follow; you are very good at organizing and taking charge for the collective benefit of the group.

Love of Learning

You often find ways to deepen your knowledge and experiences; you regularly look for new opportunities to learn; you are passionate about building knowledge.

Love

You are warm and genuine to others; you not only share but are open to receiving love from others; you value growing close and intimate with others.

Perseverance

You keep going and going when you have a goal in mind; you attempt to overcome all obstacles; you finish what you start.  You are diligent, industrious, stay on task, and finish what you start despite contrary impulses.

Perspective/Wisdom

You take the “big picture” view of things; others turn to you for wise advice; you help others make sense of the world; you learn from your mistakes.

Prudence

You are wisely cautious; you are planful and conscientious; you are careful to not take undue risks or do things you might later regret.

Self-Regulation

You are a very disciplined person; you manage your vices and bad habits; you stay calm and cool under pressure; you manage your impulses and emotions.

Social Intelligence

You pay close attention to social nuances and the emotions of others; you have good insight into what makes people “tick”; you seem to know what to say and do in any social situation.

Spirituality/Sense of Meaning

You are wisely cautious; you are planful and conscientious; you are careful to not take undue risks or do things you might later regret.

Teamwork

You are a very disciplined person; you manage your vices and bad habits; you stay calm and cool under pressure; you manage your impulses and emotions.

Zest

You are enthusiastic toward life; you are highly energetic and activated; you use your energy to the fullest degree.

ADDED STRENGTHS

The following four strengths were added to C2: Character Challenge by the Liston Group as a result of Dr. Liston’s research. Character strength conceptualization is a nascent field and changes are expected. Until a character taxonomy is finalized by the field, discussions of and research regarding what constitutes the best character construct will continue.

EXCELLENCE

You desire to do things well and accomplish your intended result. You are passionate about accomplishing your desired goals and achievement is important to you. You are diligent, thorough, detailed, industrious, and believe in doing your job to the best of your ability. You are not satisfied with failure or even a good effort if the result is not superb.

RESPONSIBILITY

You know the right choice and you make the right choice. You know what people, attitudes, and behaviors to adopt and what to avoid. You do what you say you will do and admit when you are wrong. You are reliable, consistent, and dependable. Others can count on you.

RESPECT

You see the value in others and treat them accordingly despite their shortcomings. You honor, defer, speak, and act appropriately toward those who are older or in authority. You respect others rights of privacy, personal space, and property. You also have self-respect, expect the same treatment from others, and can stand up for yourself in conflict.

PEACE

You are calm despite trouble and stress. When others agitate you, purposely or unintentionally, you maintain your composure. You face difficulty and danger with competency and self-assurance. You remain serene in the midst of troubling circumstances.

HOW C2 GROUPS THE 28 STRENGTHS

  • Achievement Character
  • Relationship Character
  • Motivation Character
  • Responsibility
  • Confidence/Respect
  • Love of Learning
  • Honest and Integrity
  • Kindness
  • Peace
  • Courage
  • Love and Care
  • Purpose
  • Grit and Perseverance
  • Trust and Social Intelligence
  • Gratitude
  • Self-Control
  • Tolerance and Insight
  • Optimism
  • Humility
  • Fairness
  • Wisdom and Decision-Making
  • Excellence/Achievement
  • Forgiveness
  • Curiosity and Creativity
  • Leadership
  • Cooperation
  • Awe and Humor

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