Sunday 25 February 2024

Authors: Do you Know your Top Strengths…

Have you ever heard of the VIA Institute on Character? If you go to their website, they ask if you want to do a free survey to find out what your top strengths are, and how you can apply them in your life. Character Strengths are the positive parts of your personality that impact how you think, feel, and behave. So, me being the consummate learner, I decided to take the survey. You have to create an account just to take the survey, then you can unsubscribe if you wish. Of course, if you want more information about your strengths, you can pay for the certain packages, but I declined. I was more curious on what this survey—which takes about ten minutes to complete—would reveal. They give you three categories: your tops strengths, middle strengths, and lesser strengths. For the purpose of this article, I’m going to share my top strengths with you.

Drum roll please. My number top strengths are…

Honesty (flagged under Courage): Speaking the truth but more broadly presenting oneself in a genuine way and acting in a sincere way; being without pretense; taking responsibility for one’s feelings and actions.

Kindness (flagged under Humanity): Doing favors and good deeds for others; helping them; taking care of them.

Humor (flagged under Transcendence): Liking to laugh and tease; bringing smiles to other people; seeing the light side; making (not necessarily telling) jokes.

Spirituality (flagged under Transcendence): Having coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe; knowing where one fits within the larger scope of life.

Gratitude (flagged under Transcendence): Being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen; taking time to express thanks.

Wow. I was impressed! Especially with all those transcendence flags. I actually checked in the mirror to see if I had wings. LOL! Having no expectations, it was a fun survey to do, and I’d have to admit quite eye-opening. So, how can I put these strengths to good use in my author life, I wondered? Since our characters stem from our imagination, and are part of our psyche, it would make sense to pass along one or a few of these strengths along to your characters. I noticed that I’ve done this in the past with most of my characters. Guess you really write what you know! I’ve done this through showing, rather than telling. A gesture. An act. A dialogue with another character. Bringing out your character’s strengths can help you connect to your audience all the more. It’s like part of your authentic self is tucked into your character’s pocket or up a sleeve.

This technique can work well with animals too, if you choose to include them in your book like I did
with Lost and Found. Each shelter animal had their own personality and strengths to add into the story mix, and made them so relatable. If you’re thinking about doing this survey, then also include your middle or lesser strengths to make your characters all the more believable and yes, even flawed. Funny, my last lesser strength (there’s a total of 24 altogether) was Leadership (flagged under Justice). Makes sense since I’m a writer, and used to working alone.

Ready to take the survey? Have I piqued your interest? Give it a go if you dare. You just might learn something about you, and the characters you create. Comment and let me know if you’ve taken or would like to take the VIA survey. Would love to read your comments. Cheers and thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I appreciate you! 


  1. Thanks for stopping by my virtual gym. Wink. This VIA Institute of Character survey was a great way to not only learn about myself, but how I can be a better writer for my readers. Cheers!

  2. These tests are so insightful. Thanks for sharing the info.

    1. You're welcome, Leigh! A little magic doesn't hurt either. LOL! Hugs, my magical friend!

  3. Hmm...wonder how accurate that survey is.

    1. You know, Vonnie, it really rang true for me. Try it. You've got nothing to lose, my Kiwi friend. Wink.