Do You Have Character?

By, 09/30/2011

In my daily reading, I typically come across an article that triggers a sense of introspection. I feel asking myself and then answering honest questions allows me to grow. Often times this knowledge highlights areas to improve on. This can be extremely helpful in a career search, as a candidate is typically asked to talk about themselves extensively. Truly knowing who you are as a person and having a strong understanding of how you would fit into a prospective role allows both you and the recruiter to quickly determine if a fit exists.

The title of the New York Times article, What if the Secret to Success Is Failure?, caught my eye as a potential learning experience to share with you, the Fisher Investments Careers Blog readers. I quickly realized that the article was geared more towards education policy (something I am not very knowledgeable about) and confess I did not read all nine pages. I did find interesting, however, the trigger for the studies discussed – a book about character. It contains a list of 24 character strengths, which lends itself nicely as a sounding board to generate introspective questions. I share it with you here in hopes that it will help you learn more about yourself and your career development.

Excerpt from the New York Times

“And here’s a list of the 24 character strengths identified in “Character Strengths and Virtues,” the 2004 book by Chris Peterson and Martin Seligman that was the origin of this initiative.

The 24 Character Strengths

Zest: approaching life with excitement and energy; feeling alive and activated

Grit: finishing what one starts; completing something despite obstacles; a combination of persistence and resilience.

Self-control: regulating what one feels and does; being self-disciplined

Social intelligence: being aware of motives and feelings of other people and oneself

Gratitude: being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen

Love: valuing close relationships with others; being close to people

Hope: expecting the best in the future and working to achieve it

Humor: liking to laugh and tease; bringing smiles to other people; seeing a light side

Creativity: coming up with new and productive ways to think about and do things

Curiosity: taking an interest in experience for its own sake; finding things fascinating

Open-mindedness: examining things from all sides and not jumping to conclusions

Love of learning: mastering new skills and topics on one’s own or in school

Wisdom: being able to provide good advice to others

Bravery: not running from threat, challenge, or pain; speaking up for what’s right

Integrity: speaking the truth and presenting oneself sincerely and genuinely

Kindness: doing favors and good deeds for others; helping them; taking care of them

Citizenship: working well as a member of a group or team; being loyal to the group

Fairness: treating all people the same; giving everyone a fair chance

Leadership: encouraging a group of which one is a valued member to accomplish

Forgiveness: forgiving those who’ve done wrong; accepting people’s shortcomings

Modesty: letting one’s victories speak for themselves; not seeking the spotlights

Prudence/Discretion: being careful about one’s choices; not taking undue risks

Appreciation of beauty: noticing and appreciating all kinds of beauty and excellence

Spirituality: having beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe”