Money can buy us only so much in life. The Beatles reminded us that it can’t buy us love. And research coming from the field of positive psychology has shown its limitations for buying happiness. But, with the recent advent of character science, we have been discovering how to bring meaningful enrichment to our lives…how to achieve life satisfaction…fulfillment…how to thrive! The psychological currency that we can use to buy our life enrichment is what is now known as “character strengths”.
Let me explain.
With money, we acquire it, store it, and then spend it on ourselves or others. We acquire wealth not only because of our current needs, but also to have the ability to use it when we need to or want to down the road for reasons that we currently don’t know. We try to build our bank accounts for future use.
Character strengths are these common, yet special, psychological qualities that have been associated with happiness, positive relationships, zestful engagement in life activities, a sense of purpose, and with achievement. Said simply, our character strengths are the psychological currency that gets deposited into our psychological bank account to be used for all the above purposes – that is, for the purpose of thriving.
So, why do I say that we can “get rich quick”? Well, research has shown us that there are these 24 character strengths that reside to some degree in all people. The ones that we possess most strongly are called “signature strengths” and they are like $100 bills in U.S. currency. We can “buy” the most life enrichment with them. As we work our way from the strengths that best represent who we are down to ones that we use less frequently, it is like moving in the U.S. currency from $50 bills to $20 bills and so on down to pennies. They can all be used to enrich our life, can all be built up, saved, and converted to a higher currency…pennies to nickels, nickels to dimes, dimes to quarters, and so on. One thousand pennies can buy the same thing as a $100 bill!
How do we acquire this currency quickly? The good news is that much of our wealth lies undiscovered within us just like gold or diamonds reside in a mountain. But, instead of doing the hard and risky work of prospecting in the mountains, anyone can go online and within 15 minutes or so of simply answering some easy questions, discover what wealth already exists within them – their character strengths. The VIA Survey (www.viacharacter.org) rank orders how strongly each of these 24 character strengths are represented in you. For FREE!
With this newfound awareness of what your character strengths are you can begin to be deliberate in using them. Each time you use one of your character strengths you make a deposit in your psychological bank account. That’s the magic. The more you spend the more you earn! (The main caveat here is that you need to use your character strengths well – the right ones for the right situations and in the right amount). The more you earn, the “wealthier” you become, and the more you have “in your bank” for either future investments into your dreams and aspirations or to get you through hard times. And, like money, if you just let your “character coins” lay idle in storage, their potential for enriching your life gets squandered.
So, go get rich quick. Take the VIA Survey for FREE and start spending! Regardless of how much or little money you have, you will feel richer for doing so.