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Category — Applications of Positive Psychology

Shanshine! All in good time!

Happy is the person who distils the essence and takes what they need from the vast sea of knowledge. - Yip Pei Shan

I attended a video viewing yesterday of a spiritual conference that was held about a month ago in Minneapolis.

Here are some of my thoughts on the nuggets of wisdom shared during the conference.

  1. The overriding theme was ‘All in good time’.  My understanding here is a good time is different for everyone of us.  What’s a good time for you may not be a good time for another, and vice versa.  A good time here is referring to our thoughts and actions leading to various consequences of our choice.  Simply put, a cause-and-effect phenomenon.  You reap what you sow.
  2. Playing with the word ‘good’, we can come up with the word ‘God’ by omitting an “o”.  Now I see how ‘God is Good’ sounds and looks so good.
  3. Fill our hearts and minds with love and gratefulness to the brim.  Leave no room for negativities and escape the sea of toxins, which kill the sweet goodness in our lives.
  4. The voice and light of God sustains the melody of life.

I see some positive attributes appearing here – spirituality lends strength to people, love, responsibility, and gratitude.  Wonderful!

May 9, 2011   No Comments

Words of wisdom – Falling before flying

Before you fly, you need to learn how to fall, and pick yourself up again. – Yip Pei Shan

I was looking at how people learn something new.  They encounter many failures before they taste sweet success.  One thing in common with them is they master how to fail, and more importantly, to bounce back up.  Do you?

April 14, 2011   No Comments

The mathematics game of plus (+) and minus (-)

Simple mathematics formula for positive interactions and communications

This is for the mathematician in us.  I was having a conversation some time back, and this idea on plus (+) and minus (-) came up.

Let’s take the plus as positive and a ‘yes’.  Likewise, the minus as negative, a ‘no’, ‘but’ - counter-intuitive to the plus.  In formula, it would look like this:

+ = positive, yes

– = negative, no, but

Placing these into the context of conversation, we have 3 interesting types of sentences derived with these surmisings.

The first is the ‘yes, and’ sentence.  In formula, it would look like this:

++=+ (yes, and)

For example, “Yes, that is an excellent way to go about that, and … ”

The second is the ‘yes, but’ sentence.  In formula, it would look like this:

+-=- (yes, but)

For instance, “Yes, that is an excellent way to go about that, but … ”

Lastly, the third is the ‘no, no, yes’ sentence.  In formula, it would look like this:

–=+ (no, no, eventually cancels out and becomes yes)

For illustration, “That is not a bad way to go about that.”

Yes, and … ++

I like the first sentence type best.  It is the most reinforcing and optimistic communication we should encourage in our daily interactions.  With mathematics, we can easily remember to be positive in our communications.  What comes out as words, goes through our hearts and minds first.

The second type of sentence, ‘yes, but’, is just, ‘yes, but’.  The ‘but’ negates all the good that came before that, making what you said redundant.  This is the most ineffective type of sentence to use, especially when you are trying to get your point across, make things work out smoothly or soothe hurt feelings.

The third type of sentence, ‘no, no, yes’ is a roundabout way of saying two negatives to make one positive.  It is far simpler and nicer to say it positively, rather than taxing your overworked brain cells on working out more ‘maths’ in your speech.

And, yes, and …

And, yes, use the ‘yes, and’ sentence more in your conversations with people.  Keep in mind ‘++=+” and you will see more amazing human flourishings automatically!

March 3, 2011   No Comments

VIA signature strengths survey – 2010

It had been two years since I completed the VIA strengths survey in 2008.  I decided to take it again before I went for my recent VIA Intensives workshop, and got some interesting results!

My top five signature strengths now in 2010 are:

  1. Curiosity [Wisdom and Knowledge]
  2. Love [Humanity]
  3. Appreciation of beauty and excellence [Transcendence]
  4. Creativity [Wisdom and Knowledge]
  5. Perspective [Wisdom and Knowledge]

Compared with my top five signature strengths two years ago:

  1. Creativity, ingenuity, and originality [Wisdom and Knowledge]
  2. Curiosity and interest in the world [Wisdom and Knowledge]
  3. Appreciation of beauty and excellence [Transcendence]
  4. Capacity to love and be loved [Humanity]
  5. Leadership [Justice]

My comments:

Apparently, my survey results are categorised in the 76% who have 3 or more strengths in common in their top 5 between the first and second test taking, with curiosity, love, appreciation of beauty and excellence, and creativity coming up tops (VIA Institute on Character, 2009).  Also, the results display 2 of the 5 most common strengths, curiosity and love, in which 92.5% have as one of their top 5 strengths (VIA Institute on Character, 2009).

As to date, the VIA survey has adequate test-retest reliability (>.7) and moderate psychometric and predictive validity (rs = .5) (Peterson, 2010), evident in my own personal assessment with the VIA survey.

I found it interesting that my personal taking of the VIA dropped from 4 to 3 Virtue categories, with a slightly more pronounced bias on the Wisdom and Knowledge Virtue category.  Nevertheless, Leadership is not too far down the list, and has been superseded by Perspective.

On deeper hindsight, this particular blend of strengths reflect the development of my character in these 2 years.  I have always been curious, and even more so now with the more people and situations I encounter.  The more I encounter and empathise with, the higher the priority I place on my loved ones and my values and principles.  With the passing of time and experiences of life, I appreciate the simplest beauty and excellence of my environment, the people and things around me and within my knowledge.  Creativity has been synonymous with me, and it serves to spice up life not only in the ‘conventional’ creative ways, but now oozing in ‘unconventional’ words, thoughts and actions.  Perspective is the new kid on the block on my list of top 5.  I reckon I had a steep learning curve and radical transformation in these 2 years that led to this strength being developed earlier than most people.  To be taken with a pinch of salt, my VIA results are in the top 3% of the test-takers, adjusted against gender and educational background.  This is to be cautiously interpreted as the VIA is still a self-assessment, and may be subjected to individual bias or mis-representation.  On the funny side, I am as wise as an ancient, white-haired guru, looking as young as a teenager, as beautiful as a celebrity, with a superbly curious bent, oozing and breathing love and creativity, and with my head always angled up and drinking in the beauty and excellence of the skies and nature!  I wonder what to make of this description!

Do you want to get acquainted with your signature strengths?  Take the VIA Survey, and let me interpret it for you.  Remember, I am curious to know you, and love to know that you are living fully with your strengths – every day, all the time.


Peterson, C., 2010. VIA Survey Psychometric Data. In VIA intensive: Strengths – Character strengths and virtues in practice.

VIA intensive: Strengths – Character strengths and virtues in practice.

November 25, 2010   No Comments

What are your signature strengths? A tabulation of the VIA virtues and strengths – 2009 and 2010

2 years ago in 2008, I tabulated the VIA‘s character strengths.  Here are the updates for 2009 and 2010.

Some interesting things to note:

The VIA used to stand for “Values In Action”, however, it now simply represents  the literal meaning of VIA – “the way”.  It is the way to Happiness, via our strengths.

No changes in the strengths’ names, however, there is a growing amount of positive literature and research conducted on these over the 2 years.


Wisdom and Knowledge

  1. Creativity
  2. Curiosity
  3. Judgment & Open-Mindedness
  4. Love of Learning
  5. Perspective


  1. Bravery
  2. Perseverance
  3. Honesty
  4. Zest


  1. Capacity to Love and Be Loved
  2. Kindness
  3. Social Intelligence


  1. Teamwork
  2. Fairness
  3. Leadership


  1. Forgiveness and Mercy
  2. Modesty and Humility
  3. Prudence
  4. Self-Regulation


  1. Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence
  2. Gratitude
  3. Hope
  4. Humour
  5. Religiousness and Spirituality


1. Wisdom and Knowledge

  • Creativity
  • Curiosity
  • Judgment & Open-Mindedness
  • Love of Learning
  • Perspective

2. Courage

  • Bravery
  • Perseverance
  • Honesty
  • Zest

3. Humanity

  • Capacity to Love and Be Loved
  • Kindness
  • Social Intelligence

4. Justice

  • Teamwork
  • Fairness
  • Leadership

5. Temperance

  • Forgiveness & Mercy
  • Modesty & Humility
  • Prudence
  • Self-Regulation

6. Transcendence

  • Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence
  • Gratitude
  • Hope
  • Humor
  • Religiousness & Spirituality

November 18, 2010   No Comments