Tonight one of the discussion groups I attend was discussing the book Character Strengths Matter by S. Polly, and K. Britton. Because there were 24 character traits listed we couldn’t define and cover all of them in two hours, so the conversation devolved into each of us reading off our top five and bottom five character traits, from the test we each took. The test consisted of 120 statements with five levels of agreement through disagreement. That conversation worked well because we were able to compare our perceived personal similarities with each other, and then to judge their relevance.
I found the test to be annoying because it was difficult to make subtle judgments on its nebulous statements, but strangely the individuals that scored closest to me on the top and bottom qualities were intellectually academically inclined in personality. My top five character strengths were Perspective, Humor, Love, Creativity and Curiosity. My bottom five traits were Prudence, Hope, Spirituality, Teamwork and Humility.
Those top five terms were, at least to my mind, closely related to an expansive state of mind. That is the emotional state I have been blogging about lately which is related to being in a mental state where one is feeling good and can check out the options available and choose those that seemed the best for exploring more fully. My strengths were: Perspective of seeing options, Humor in the conflicts inherent in seeing options, Love of things as they are and how they might be, Creativity in how they might be used, and Curiosity as to how things are in reality.
My bottom five traits, those least associated with me, are: Humility of physical submission, Teamwork based on mentally submitting to the group’s needs, Spirituality and the idealistic longing for the unattainable, Hope as a speculative aspiration for something better but probably unattainable, and Prudence as choosing the least dangerous path as a life strategy.
I developed these ideas before the group, with a quite a lot of counter argument, but especially when I mentioned that the Muslim religion considered these bottom fire traits on my chart as the top virtues in their worldview. These were also top values in the Christian world until the Renaissance and the rise of modern science and modern academic thought. In that view it appears that I am a modern person. I am comfortable with that.
Being in a very positive frame of mind is associated with growth toward greater maturity.