Strengths Reference Guide

The Character of Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification by Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman

Creativity (originality, ingenuity):  Thinking of novel and productive ways to conceptualize and do things

Curiosity (interest, novelty-seeking, openness to experience):  Taking an interest in ongoing experience for its own sake; exploring and discovering

Open-mindedness (judgment, critical thinking):  Thinking things through and examining them from all sides; weighing all evidence fairly

Love of Learning:  Mastering new skills, topics, and bodies of knowledge, whether on one’s own or formally

Perspective (wisdom):  Being able to provide wise counsel to others; having ways of looking at the world that makes sense to oneself and to other people

Bravery (valor):  Not shrinking from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain; acting on convictions even if unpopular

Persistence (perseverance, industriousness):  Finishing what one starts; persisting in a course of action in spite of obstacles

Integrity (authenticity, honesty):  Presenting oneself in a genuine way; taking responsibility for one’s feeling and actions

Vitality (zest, enthusiasm, vigor, energy):  Approaching life with excitement and energy; feeling alive and activated

Love:  Valuing close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated

Kindness (generosity, nurturer, care, compassion, altruistic love, “niceness”):  Doing favors and good deeds for others

Social intelligence (emotional intelligence, personal intelligence):  Being aware of the motives and feelings of others people and oneself

Citizenship (social responsibility, loyalty, teamwork):  Working well as a member of a group or team; being loyal to the group

Fairness:  Treating all people the same according to notions of fairness and justice; not letting personal feelings bias decisions about others

Leadership:  Encouraging a group of which one is a member to get things done and at the same time maintain good relations within the group

Forgiveness and mercy:  Forgiving those who have done wrong; accepting the shortcomings of others; giving people a second chance: not being vengeful

Humility/Modesty:  Letting one’s accomplishments speak for themselves; not regarding oneself as more special than one is

Prudence:  Being careful about one’s choices; not taking undue risks; not saying or doing things that might later be regretted

Self-regulation (self-control):  Regulating what one feels and does; being disciplined; controlling one’s appetites and emotions

Appreciation of beauty and excellence (awe, wonder, elevation):  Appreciating beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in various domains of life

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

Hope (optimism, future-mindedness, future orientation):  Expecting the best in the future and working to achieve it

Humor (playfulness):  Liking to laugh and tease; bringing smiles to other people; seeing the light side

Spirituality (religiousness, faith, purpose):  Having coherent beliefs about the higher purpose, the meaning of life, and the meaning of the universe