24 Character Strengths: Perseverance

We are all unique and we all have strengths which allow us to contribute to the world. In the early 2000’s, Dr. Martin Seligman and Dr. Christopher Peterson developed the VIA Character Strengths. Their research determined that there are 24 common character strengths that each of us possess to one degree or another, giving us a common language to use, but still recognizing that each of us is unique.


Each of these Character Strengths fall under one of six broad categories called Virtues. These Virtues and Character Strengths have proven to be universal across cultures and nations. Over the next few weeks, we will explore each of the 24 strengths that we all share, yet make you uniquely you!


Next we will look at the Virtue of Courage, which brings together those strengths used to further our goals and face challenges.

The Character Strength of Perseverance is all about getting things done. Specifically, it looks at two dimensions - effort and duration. Perseverance helps someone organize themselves to support getting something done and when all else fails, they will push on until the effort is completed. It is most commonly thought of in terms of getting tasks or project completed, but it can show up in other places as well. Perseverance in a relationship may look like putting in the extra effort to make it through a difficult time rather than pulling back or giving up. People with high Perseverance will follow through on commitments in all areas of their life and gain a lot of personal satisfaction in being reliable.


When Perseverance is absent, it can be perceived as laziness or a lack of commitment. The opposite is helplessness or giving up without trying. In excess it can turn into obsessiveness and pushing to an outcome no matter the cost. Understanding these opposites, absences and excesses can help us identify Perseverance in ourselves and in others. We all have Perseverance to one degree or another and you may even find it more present in some areas of your life than others.


Understanding Perseverance in yourself can help you avoid situations where you may be getting in over your head or over-committing. Look for examples in your life where something you are doing feels exciting rather than like a chore. Identify the things that may stop you from continuing on with a situation or activity. On the opposite side, look for times when you did persevere in accomplishing something and what inspired you to keep going. Look for ways to persevere in your life and you just might be surprised how often you make it to the end goal!


If you would like to learn more about Perseverance and your individual strengths, you can visit the website below and complete the free VIA Character Strengths Questionnaire.


https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/