This posting is the first of twenty-four in a series focusing on the VIA Character Strengths from Each human being has all twenty-four of the strengths identified by the VIA Institute of Character, but the twenty-four show up in each of us in unique combinations.

Knowing which of our strengths are more prominent and which are less prominent can be useful as we explore how we want to tackle upcoming challenges or as we reflect on the factors that led to successes so we might repeat or even improve on them.

Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence comes first when the twenty-four VIA Character Strengths are arranged in alphabetical order. When we use this strength, according to VIA, we appreciate

  1. physical beauty
  2. skill or talent (excellence)
  3. virtue or moral goodness (moral beauty).

Pause for a moment to notice how aware you are of having the strength of Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence. Where does it show up for you each day?  Do you notice physical beauty in nature or art or design or perhaps somewhere else? Do you appreciate the skillfulness and talent that you see in yourself and others? Or do you find yourself expressing gratitude (silently or audibly) when you see someone demonstrating moral beauty by taking responsibility for a misstep or by refusing to follow the crowd into something that is contrary to their values.

We can notice this strength in ourselves and appreciate it. We may notice that we are stronger in some aspects of Appreciating Beauty and Excellence than others. As I considered this, I realized that I am currently more likely to notice moral goodness/beauty and physical beauty (in nature, art, little children, for example), than I am to fully appreciate excellence in skills or talents demonstrated by others or myself. That’s something I’m going to work on.

We can also be inspired as we notice the ways others appreciate beauty and excellence. They can show us the way to grow even more in this strength.

You might want to spend a few minutes every so often focusing on where you use this skill. It can enrich your life. If you decide to make a list of places you found beauty and excellence, that list might inspire you in moments when there doesn’t seem to be beauty and excellence in your life. You will be reminded that it does exist and you will see it again even if you can’t quite spot it in the moment!

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