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Leveraging Your Signature Strengths Part II

To Gain the full Benefit from this Article Please First Read…The Path to Authentic and Lasting Happiness


“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” Dalai Lama


10. Kindness and Generosity

You enjoy doing good deeds for others and you take other people’s interests as seriously as your own. You are kind and generous to others and you are never too busy to do a favor. You often assume responsibility for other people, whether in your family, work or social circle; you are open and make friends easily. You are capable of empathy and sympathy.You readily acknowledge other people’s worth.

11. Loving and Allowing Oneself to Be Loved

You value close and intimate relationships with others. Your close relationships are characterized by mutuality and a good balance between dependence and independence. You create strong and long-lasting friendships. In romance and marriage you create secure, caring and giving relationships. You often and naturally display verbal and physical affection, show appreciation and admiration for your partner and are able to accept with grace and gratitude the same sentiments when expressed.


“Only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of peace.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower


12. Citizenship/Duty/Teamwork/Loyalty

You enjoy teamwork and quickly become a valuable member of any group. You are loyal and dedicated to your team, you always pull your own weight and work hard for the success of the group. You value the group’s goals and purposes and you are willing to sacrifice your self-interest for the benefit of the groups you are a member of. You respect and fully collaborate with the team leaders and people in authority like teachers or coaches. When working on a task as a group member you are able to focus on the task, while paying close attention to the relationships among team members. You promote a friendly, cooperative climate within your group; you openly share plans, information and resources with others. You spot and nurture opportunities for collaboration.

13. Fairness and Equity

You take the welfare of others, even those you do not know personally, as seriously as your own. You never allow your personal feelings to bias your decisions about other people. You believe that everyone deserves an equal chance, and you can treat a person fairly whether you like that person or not. You are attentive to emotional cues and listen well when others make requests. You show sensitivity and fully respect others’ perspectives.

14. Leadership

You are very good at organizing activities and seeing to it that they happen. You are a humane leader aware of inter-group dynamics and you are a fair and skilled negotiator. You can articulate and arouse enthusiasm for a shared vision and mission. You can be a tough decision maker: you are able to confidently tell people what to do, hold them to their obligations and be explicit about consequences. You balance a people-oriented personal style with a decisive command role. While positive, inspiring, accessible, warm and democratic, you don’t hesitate to take charge, be purposeful, assertive and businesslike.


“Temperance is simply a disposition of the mind which binds the passions”. St.Thomas Aquinas


15. Self-control

You are able to control your emotions, impulses, reactions, needs, desires when it is appropriate. When something upsetting happens to you, you are able to regulate your emotions yourself without outside help. You are also able to repair and neutralize your negative emotions on your own, and you are very resilient. You can generate within you a positive mood even in trying times. When you set a goal that requires deprivation in the present in favor of a future outcome, like saving money or staying on a diet, you are able to stick to your plan.

16. Prudence/Discretion/Caution

You are far-sighted and deliberate in your actions. You rarely say or do things that you might later regret. You are able to resist impulses about short-term goals for the sake of longer-term success. Before making a decision or taking action you collect all necessary data; you don’t make rash decisions. You are cautious and aware of realistic dangers or threats. You don’t take big risks that might jeopardize your long-term interests, your physical health and possibly your mental balance. You generally make good choices in friendships, relationships and business partnerships. You don’t get carried away by emotion or impulse but base your actions on reason and moderation.

17. Humility and Modesty

You are humble and unpretentious. You do not regard yourself as special and others recognize and value your modesty. While being confident and emotionally secure, you feel no need to brag about your accomplishments, but allow them to speak for themselves. You do not consider your personal victories, defeats, or aspirations as all-important. You never try to become the center of attention, nor do you believe that you deserve to be the center of other people’s world. You can accept recognition and appreciation graciously, but you do not seek the spotlight.


“The progressive growth of the finite consciousness of man towards this Self, towards the universal, the eternal, the infinite, in a word his growth into spiritual consciousness in the development of his ordinary ignorant natural being into an illumined divine being, this is the significance of life and the aim of human existence.” Sri Aurobindo


18. Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence

You appreciate beauty, excellence, ability and virtuosity in all domains: in nature and in the arts, in science, in sports but also small everyday things. Your feelings of appreciation are often accompanied by awe and wonder. You enjoy creating beauty and harmony in your everyday life.

19. Gratitude

You never take for granted the good things that happen to you and you always take time to express your thanks. Your gratitude extends to the feeling of wonder, thankfulness and appreciation for life itself. Counting your blessings comes naturally to you, and you often feel grateful toward other people but also nonhuman sources like animals, nature, God.

20. Hope/Optimism/Future-Mindedness

You always look on the bright side of things. You expect the best in the future and you plan and work in order to achieve it. You view all setbacks as temporary and you sustain good cheer in the here and now while creating step by step a goal-directed life. You let go easily of past grievances, you “travel light”; you expect more positive than negative events in the future and you feel most of the time that you are in control of your life. You recover quickly from the inevitable negative events; you are well-grounded in the here and now and remain optimistic about your future choices.

21. Spirituality/Sense of Purpose/Faith/Religiousness

You have a sense of belonging, of having a place in the larger scheme. You have strong and coherent beliefs which shape your actions and from which you draw comfort and strength. You have a philosophy of life, religious or secular, that gives your life a higher purpose and meaning and gives you a sense of connection to humanity and the larger universe.

22. Forgiveness and Mercy

Your guiding principle is mercy, not revenge. You always let bygones be bygones. You always give people a second chance. You forgive those who have done you wrong, and tend to show empathy, understanding and generosity of heart. You try to resolve disputes or injustices with a positive spirit, reaching out to the transgressor with benevolent and kind motivation and actions.

23. Playfulness and Humor

You can easily see the light side of life. You approach everything with a carefree, playful attitude. You like laughter and bring smiles to other people. You appreciate good, well-intentioned humor and are able to be funny and fun to be with. You often see the comic side of every tragedy. Your personality is light, breezy and spontaneous. You intuitively know that humor and laughter helps you and others release resentment, break the ice in uncomfortable settings or turn someone’s bad mood around.

24. Zest/Passion/Enthusiasm

When you wake up every morning you look forward to your day. You throw yourself body and soul into everything you do. Your passion is infectious. You are inspired and inspiring to be with. You encourage others to pursue their own aspirations by your example. You bring zest and enthusiasm to all of your activities.

By now, if you have been rating yourself on all the strengths presented, you have been able to single out the personality traits that represent you most accurately, your signature strengths. Some of them you have already known and used in your everyday life; some others, only now you became aware of, and it may feel like a pleasant surprise or a revelation, and it is, because in those non-actualized strengths may lie some hidden potential for growth and expansion.


Let’s take the example of work, or choice of a profession or special role in your professional area. Perhaps, you are a young person just starting out, an established professional, or someone disillusioned by your present occupation and looking for something that would truly inspire you. Once you have identified your signature strengths, this will automatically give you a sense of direction. You can choose work that lets you use your signature strengths every day. You can re-invent your present work situation to create more opportunities to use your signature strengths more. You can diversify your activities and enlarge the scope of your aspirations, dare new things and increase your chances of more deeply gratifying work conditions.

If you are considering a change of profession, your signature strengths are a good place to begin, and knowing them will not only increase your chances of success, but also your deep sense of gratification and fulfillment which your previous profession could not provide for you. Work plays a very important role in most people’s lives and takes up most of our time during the day; by using consciously our signature strengths daily we can create flow and gain a great sense of authenticity, our personal value and contribution.

Leveraging consciously your signature strengths can help you gain greater joy and satisfaction in social and personal relationships as well. You can more easily find your role and place in social situations and contribute to your social group with your special skills and gifts. In romantic relationships and marriage your signature strengths can fill in the gaps in areas where your partner is lacking, while he or she can do the same in areas that you are. Being aware of your and your partner’s signature strengths already steers your relationship in a positive direction, by the conscious inter-play and mingling of each other’s best attributes. It also steers you away from fault-finding and blaming, as you are both more sensitive to the positive contributions each one makes to the totality of the relationship, rather than the weaknesses and inadequacies. Celebrating one’s own signature strengths automatically leads you to celebrating your partner’s, and that can lead to deeper and longer-lasting gratification within the relationship. The same is also true for friendships.

Your interpersonal signature strengths can also assist you in your role as a parent. You can cultivate the signature strengths of your children, encourage them to develop them further, and assist them in living more authentically even from a very young age.

Leveraging our signature strengths can also assist us in times of trouble, whether permanent or temporary. Within the positive psychology movement a new trend and philosophy of psychotherapy has been developed, which differs from the old, classical paradigms of therapy. In most of the traditional paradigms, the therapist focuses on what’s wrong rather than what’s right. According to the positive psychology paradigm, focusing on the positive, the healthy aspects of a client can assure quicker and more lasting progress. Exploring the signature strengths of a client may open new opportunities, more avenues of self-expression, more meaning and purpose, can re-establish more zest and passion for life, than dealing directly with his or her depression or anxiety, which are states of self-absorption. Leveraging our signature strengths has the power to remove us from these states, simply by shifting our focus in more positive directions, by helping us move our energy outwards and by creating flow which can become a period of rest and healing imperceptibly taking place.

Finally, knowing in greater depth and leveraging our signature strengths can help us re-connect with our genuine self. On the basis of our signature strengths we can live a life that lets our best aspects shine and live out our uniqueness. There is a lot of joy and lasting gratification to be gained through giving the world our very best and helping others bring out their best as well.

Martin E.P. Seligman Ph. D., Authentic Happiness
D. Goleman, Working With Emotional Intelligence

Ismini Apostoli is a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, practicing in Greece and offering online services throughout the world. She is particularly interested in self- esteem, self-development and self-actualization and helping people uncover their special gifts and talents. You can find out more by visiting http://www.yourempowermenttherapist.com.

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3 Responses to “Leveraging Your Signature Strengths Part II”

  1. jamie jo says:

    I’m just reading the complete series within this group, and I totally agree with the purpose of this series! In it’s most basic wording I feel as if you’re simply saying find your good, strong qualities, embrace and/or discover your passion in life based on said qualities. Then, live each day with the purpose of further developing your qualities all the while teaching other and helping others along the way. The recipe for happiness is unshakeable when approached with positive strong qualities and passion. Thanks for the excellent articles.

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