24 Character Traits You Want To Be Happy

Here’s something interesting.

Positive Psychology gurus Martin Seligman and Christopher Peterson, consulted works from Aristotle to Confucius, from the Upanishads to the Torah, from the Boy Scout Handbook to profiles of Pokémon characters and settled on 24 desirable character strengths common to all cultures and eras. ALL OF THEM! We’re talking global.

The list included some we think of as traditionally noble traits, like:

  • bravery
  • citizenship
  • fairness
  • wisdom
  • integrity

others that veer into the emotional realm, like:

  • love
  • humor
  • zest
  • appreciation of beauty

and still others that are more concerned with day-to-day human interactions:

  • social intelligence (the ability to recognize interpersonal dynamics and adapt quickly to different social situations)
  • kindness
  • self-regulation
  • gratitude
To learn more you can go to Seligman’s website. If you register you can even take a questionnaire that I assume tells you what your character strengths are so that you can go there and use them to be as happy, productive and positive as you can be! Mostly I like the rundown on all the traits as “Make the Change for Wellbeing and Happiness” lays them out. So if you want to be as brave and wise as Pikachu you’ll want to study up. For now it’s time to go to bed to re-charge my zest!


  • Maureen

    Hi Dr. A, I took a couple of these tests a few years ago. For the “Fordyce Emotions Test” my level of happiness was a originally a 4 (on a scale of 1-10). I retook that test today and my level is a … wait for it … 7 !! Hooray!

    For the Strengths questionairre, my original top strengths were “Fairness, Equity and Justice” and “Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence.” I didn’t retake that one yet (240 quesitons!). I wonder if those have changed too?

    • From a 4 to a 7! That has got to feel good! Have a wonderful day and be happy!


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