StrengthsOrla Shanahan Hazel Kidney J. K. Moran Tom McGuire
BrainstormTake a moment to write down what do weknow about Strengths already?
Overview of seminarO Definitions O Education andO Theories strengthsO History O Children andO Character Strengths strengths O Sport and StrengthsO Criteria for strengths O ActivityO Difference between strengths and talents O Politics and strengthsO 6 Virtues, 24 O Activity Strengths O SummaryO Everyday Strengths O Suggested Readings
Learning OutcomesO Understand strengths in positive psychologyO Know your own strengthsO Knowledge of strengths in everyday occurrenceO Be able to use them in a positive useful mannerO Cite main theorists and their theories
DefinitionO Character strengths: positive traits reflected in thoughts, feelings and behaviors. They exist in degrees and can be measured as individual differences. (Chung, 2008)O “The truth is that all of us attain the greatest success and happiness possible in this life whenever we use our native capacities to their greatest extent.” Dr. Smiley Blanton, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst (1882-1966)
Main TheoristsO Jonathan HaidtO Christopher PetersonO Martin Seligman
HistoryO World War II psychological mission: O Cure mental disease O Help people live more productive lives O Identifying and nurturing high talentsO Used APA presidency shift focus from curing mental illness to fulfilmentO Out of 17,000 articles, 61% about negative issues (Czapinksi, 1985, cited in Chung, 2008)
ImprovementO Higher gain in life satisfaction when strengths and weaknesses worked on rather than strengths alone (Rust, Diessner & Reade, 2009)O Excess in one strength does not cause a drop in life satisfaction (Park, Peterson & Seligman, 2004)
What are your character strengths?O http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K- 3IjNr1gCg&feature=related- Character strengthsO Take a minute to write down your character strengths.
List of strengthsO http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNEu2j p_go8
Criteria for a strengthO Criteria for character strengths: Ubiquity = recognized across culture Fulfilling = contributes to individual fulfillment, satisfaction and happiness Morally valued = valued in its own right and not for the outcomes it may produce Does not diminish others = elevates others who witness it, produces admiration not jealous Infelicitous opposite = has negative opposites Trait-like = is an individual difference with demonstrative generality and stability Measurable = can be measured by researchers as an individual difference Distinctiveness = is not redundant with other character strengths Paragons = strikingly embodied in some individuals Prodigies = precociously shown by some children Selective absence = is missing all together in some people Institutions = deliberate target of social practices and rituals that try to cultivate it
Difference between strength and talentsO Strengths such as valour, courage, honesty should not be mistaken for talents such as rhythm, accuracy or pitch.O Main difference is that strengths are moral traits, talents are non-moralO Talents are innate, have it or you dontO You can‟t improve talents as much as you can improve strengthsO talents are easy, strengths require choice and action (Seligman, 2002)
Peterson & Seligman (2005):O 6 VirtuesO 24 strengthsO Take the surveyO The VIA-IS can be taken for free at http://www.viasurvey.org/, a site run by the VIA institute. You need to register and then the site will save your results so you can always revisit and check your strengths.O http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-Lo- hofLGc&feature=related?
6 Virtues, 24 strengths
Everyday strengthsWe use our strengths in our day to day life.O EducationO SportO Politics
Strengths In educationO Incorporating a focus on strengths in the school mission.Focusing on character strengths offers a step towards1. greater engagement2. greater achievement3. greater well-beingJust naming the strengths of a teacher or a student is anuplifting experience.O When we are able to use our strengths, we are satisfying our natural urges.O We feel good about ourselves, we thrive and we feel energized.
Education and strengthsO Using your strengths to perform the best of your educational abilityO Learning through strengthshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZYveRLtXXY-
Strengths In EducationO We perform better, we are more productive. We have greater contentment and satisfaction. There is a sense of accomplishment and meaning in our work and personal life.O In contrast, a continual focus on trying to fix weaknesses leaves us frustrated, suppressing our natural tendencies. This can lead to anger and becoming psychologically and physically drained.O Overtime, these negative kinds of emotions can lead to depression.
Strengths In EducationO Elizabeth Hurlock‟s (1925) creative work highlighted how praise of students‟ work has a more powerful effect on math performance than criticism of students‟ efforts.O Don‟t focus on the weaknesses.O Good character is what parents want to encourage in their children, what teachers attempt to communicate with their pupils, and what friends look for in each other.
Education and strengthsO Teachers have found that storytelling, festival- type celebrations, and character strengths have a particular interaction in schools.O It brings them together to create a program that helps students and teachers notice strengths in themselves and others.O It also brings celebration and strengths into the life of the whole school as well as the classroom.
Educational strengthsO Comics are used as the most frequently mentioned strength as an educational tool along with the ability for comics to motivate students.O Haugaard (1973) shares that comics were the only way to motivate her son to read.O Versaci (2001) finds that comics can quite literally put a human face on a given subject resulting in an intimate, emotional connection between his students and characters of a comics story.
ActivityO Write your name in the middle of a piece of paper and leave it on the desk.O Write down what you feel the main strength(s) of each person in the class are on their piece of paper.O Everyone should feel great after this, take this piece of paper home and treasure it !!
Children and StrengthsO Children are developing their strengths as they grow up.O Some children would naturally have good character strengths but other may need to work on them.
Sport and StrengthsO Sport got there first, of course, and got there many decades earlier.O Even before Freud and Kraepelin had begun constructing their contrasting disease models of mental illness, athletes and footballers had come to a basic conception of positive psychology.O Meaning, significance and life satisfaction could be found in a context of team, in the refusal to give up, and in the deliberate exercise of courage.
A Window in Stirling, Scotland 1929
O The APA defines exercise and sport psychology as the study of psychological influences on performance and participation in sports, exercise and other forms of athletic activity.O It is divided into three sections: O (i) sport psychology O (ii) exercise psychology O (iii) human performance. (Salama-Younes, 2011)
Sport PsychologyO Addresses the interactions between psychology and sport performanceO Optimal athletic performanceO Well-being of coaches, referees, and athletesO The connection between physical and psychological functioning
Exercise PsychologyO The behavioral, social cognitive and psychobiological antecedentsO The consequences of physical activityO Focus on adoption and maintenance of physical activity and its effects on psychological well-being
Performance PsychologyO In essence, the psychology of human performanceO Particularly looks at professions that demand excellence in psychomotor performance (e.g surgeons, firefighters, military operations – bomb squad).O Also addressed are work environments in which teamwork and motivation are important to human performance (Weinberg, & Gould, 1995).
Prodigies in SportO The term, „child prodigy‟, is generally used to describe children under the age of 13 who show exceptional ability, comparable to that of the most skilled adults, in a particular field of human endeavor.O There exist prodigies with respect to a strength: children who show a strength at a much earlier age than typical or at a much more sophisticated level than typical.O Usually categorized in math or music
ExamplesO Name: Alberto "Baby" ArizmendiO Sport: BoxingO Turned Pro: 13O Known For: Being the youngest boxer to turn pro
ExamplesO Name: David BeckamO Sport: footballO Turned Pro: 13O Known For: Football…His hair
ExamplesO Name: Ryan ShecklerO Sport: SkateboardingO Turned Pro: 13O Know For: Skateboarding, MT V
ExamplesO Name: Victor De Leon III, a.k.a. Lil PoisonO Sport: GamingO Turned Pro: 6O Known For: Halo Skills. The youngest- ever pro gamer when he signed to Major League Gaming (MLG) at age 6
ExamplesO Name: Tiger WoodsO Sport: GolfO Turned Pro: 8O Known For: Formerly the World no.1 he is the highest-paid professional athlete in the world, having earned an estimated US$90.5 million from winnings and endorsements in 2010.
ExamplesO Name: Michael PhelpsO Sport: SwimmingO Turned Pro: 15O Known For: 8 gold medals in Beijing and holds 39 world records.
How did he do it?O It is not difficult to trace the anatomy of Phelps‟ unprecedented success. It came from three concepts that are well- discussed in positive psychology: O 1) engagement in his own strength O 2) goal-setting O 3) positive relationships with significant others
Engagement in StrengthO Not many people are able to find their own strength and talents, and even fewer are able to engage in and develop them like Phelps hasO Diagnosed with ADHDO “When I was in high school, one of my teachers said I am never going to be successful,”O His passion and commitment also demonstrates that utilizing our strengths in the main areas of our lives will bring us gratification and authentic happiness, as proposed by Martin E.P. Seligman (2002).
Goal SettingO Keeps a list of his swimming goals on top of his nightstand, near the alarm clockO “The greatest thing is this proves that nothing is impossible and goals are what it takes, this is what I have learnt.” Michael PhelpsO Charles Noble – “You must have long range goals to keep you from being frustrated by short range failures”.
Positive RelationshipsO Gross (2001), social support fosters positive emotions and can serve as buffer against stress.O Just after winning his eighth medal, Phelps said, “There‟s so much emotions going through my head, so much excitement. I guess I just want to see my mom.”
ActivityDivide into groups and answer the following questions. Each group isgiven one of five different sports teams.Questions:1. What are the group strengths needed to be a good team?2. What individual strengths do you need to be a part of this team?3. How does this build on your own character strengths??4. What group team would best suit you as an individual based on your character strengths?The Five teams:O RugbyO HockeyO FootballO BasketballO Hurling
6 Virtues, 24 strengths
Politics and strengths
Politics and strengthsO Positivity important in gaining votersO survey of voters in Virginia, 75% of the people indicated that negative campaigns were likely to discourage people from voting (Freedman, 1999)O Rudd and Julia Gillard – promoted a positive visionO People with head strengths such as innovation and creativity voted for Obama and people with strengths related to the heart, such as humanity and courage, voted for McCain (Park & Peterson, 2010).
Politics and strengthsO Many psychological and political observer agree that Obama has most if not all of the character strengths and virtues (Seligman & Peterson, 1950)O Character strengths and virtues – very similar to what Obama calls his “values” (Obama 2006)O The Audacity of hope
Politics and strengthsO Primarily thanks to character strengths and virtues that he became president (Ripley, 2008)O empathy, compassion, fairness, emotional and socialO intelligence, generosity, and kindnessO He also has great self-confidence
Politics and strengthsO incredible perseverance, and “fierce ambitions” (Obama, 2006a, p. 243)O Humour very important part of Obama make upO http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVnk89 1ChPc
ActivityDivide into groupsO Each person gives an example of when they achieved a goal or accomplished something good in their life.O Take it in turns discuss the strengths that would have been required to achieve these goals.
SummaryO Know and identify your character strengths.O Use your strengths to help you achieve better results in your everyday life.O Don‟t focus on weaknesses.O Working in areas that requires your character strengths to increase life satisfaction.
Any Questions ?
Suggested ReadingsO Positive psychology: the science of happiness and human strengths, By Dr. Alan Carr (2004)O Authentic Happiness: using the new positive psychology to realize your potential lasting fulfillment. Martin E. P. Seligman ( 2002)O Seilgman character strengths and virtues
ReferencesO Chung, H. (2008). Resiliency and character strengths among college students.O Linley, P. A., Joseph, S., Harrington, S. & Wood, A. M. (2006). Positive psychology: Past, present, and (possible) future. The Journal of Positive Psychology; 1, (1), 3-16.O Rust, T., Diessnar, R. & Reade, L. (2009). Strengths only or strengths and relative weaknesses? A Preliminary Study. The Journal of Psychology; 143, (5), 465–476O Seligman, M. E. P. (2002). Authentic Happiness. The Free Press; New York.O Nansook Park, Christopher Peterson, and Martin E. P. Seligman (2004). Strengths of Character and Well-Being. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology: Vol. 23, No. 5, pp. 603-619.