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The 24 Inner Strengths: The Guide

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The 24 Inner Strengths: The Guide

Character inner strengths are not about ignoring life’s difficulties, but rather about harnessing our innate capacities to navigate through them.  

Having this in mind, the pioneering work of Dr. Martin Seligman and Dr. Jordan Peterson stands out as a beacon of insight into understanding what drives human behavior. “Character Strengths and Virtues,” their collaborative masterpiece, delves deep into the essence of human character and identifies 24 universal inner strengths. Those strengths, which transcend cultural, historical, and geographical boundaries, can be divided into six core virtues, each of which outlines a path to moral and personal growth. This framework not only highlights the inherent capacities within each person, but also offers a roadmap for harnessing these virtues to live a fulfilling, purposeful, and resilient life in spite of hardships.

The six core virtues are Knowledge, Courage, Humanity, Justice, Temperance, and Transcendence. Each category contains strengths that, when developed, can lead to a fulfilling and morally enriched life.

The 24 core inner strengths

1. The Intellectual Virtue: Knowledge

Knowledge is the foundation of personal growth, comprising strengths that foster a deep-seated love for learning and exploration:

  1. Creativity: The ability to think in novel and productive ways.
  2. Curiosity: A strong desire to explore and discover.
  3. Love of Learning: A passion for acquiring new knowledge and skills.
  4. Perspective: The capacity to provide wise counsel to others.

2. The Essence of Fortitude: Courage

Courage is the driving force behind our ability to confront fears and challenges:

  1. Bravery: Not shrinking from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain.
  2. Persistence: Finishing what one starts despite obstacles.
  3. Honesty: Speaking the truth and presenting oneself in a genuine way.
  4. Zest: Approaching life with excitement and energy.

3. The Heart of Interconnection: Humanity

Humanity represents our proclivity for nurturing and cherishing relationships:

  1. Love: Valuing close relationships with others.
  2. Kindness: Doing favors and good deeds for others.
  3. Social Intelligence: Being aware of the motives and feelings of oneself and others
  4. Compassion: The ability to empathize with others’ suffering and the desire to alleviate it..

4. The Foundation of Society: Justice

Justice encompasses the strengths that build healthy community and societal bonds:

  1. Teamwork: Working well as a member of a group or team.
  2. Fairness: Treating all people the same according to notions of fairness and justice.
  3. Leadership: Encouraging a group to get things done while maintaining good relations within the group.
  4. Loyalty: A steadfast allegiance or faithfulness to a person, group, or cause, despite circumstances or temptations to the contrary.

5. The Balance of Self: Temperance

Temperance is crucial for achieving a well-balanced life, characterized by self-control and mindfulness:

  1. Forgiveness: Forgiving those who have wronged us.
  2. Modesty: Letting one’s accomplishments speak for themselves.
  3. Prudence: Being careful about one’s choices; not taking undue risks.
  4. Self-Regulation: Regulating what one feels and does.

6. The Quest for Meaning: Transcendence

Transcendence connects us to the larger universe and provides a sense of meaning:

  1. Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence: Noticing and appreciating beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance.
  2. Gratitude: Being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen.
  3. Hope: Expecting the best and working to achieve it.
  4. Spirituality: Having coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of life.

The Importance of Character Inner Strengths in Overcoming Adversity

Character inner strengths are not about ignoring life’s difficulties, but rather about harnessing our innate capacities to navigate through them. For instance, bravery cannot exist without fear, perseverance comes from overcoming the urge to quit, and self-control is tested through temptation. By recognizing and developing them, you can build resilience and thrive even in the face of adversity.

Through Dr. Seligman and Dr. Peterson’s exploration, we can gain a profound understanding of the virtues that have guided humans throughout history. It is possible to lead a more fulfilling life, make a positive contribution to our communities, and navigate life’s challenges with grace and resilience if we identify and cultivate our inner strengths.

February 13, 2024