On Character Day – Thank You! “性格日” – 谢谢!


A Facebook posting by VIA Institute a few days ago reminding us that 18 September 2015 is Character Day had me reflected the journey I walked, since August 2011.  It was when I (so fortunately) chanced upon positive psychology and an online course by the institute called VIA Character Strengths.  The course had such an impact on my perspectives that I started this blog to document the 7-week journey.

The learning entirely shifted my paradigm and I have since faithfully applying what I learn on so many areas of my life.  The outcome is positive and encouraging, to say the least. I apply the skills on many people, it gives me a great sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.

“A picture says a thousand words.”  This picture is tribute to Character Strengths on Character Day and to this great journey I have walked since I began my learning 4 years ago.  And, THANK YOU, for the inspiring perspectives and knowledge.

VIA Institute  (VIA研究中心)日前在脸书提醒我们,2015年9月18日是“性格日”。这一则帖子让我回想起我学习VIA性格强项的心路历程。该七个星期课程对我有莫大的影响和启发,改变了我的许多观点与想法上的模式。我十分努力学习和运用在日常生活上。结果是令人鼓舞的!

“一张图片胜过千言万语。” 我就用这幅画来贺庆9月18日“性格日”和我四年的学习征程。谢谢你!


On Target! Progress of 3GT Strengths Project 达标!3GT计划的进度

In September last year, I started  3GT Strengths Project 3GT计划.  It has been 6 months now and it is a good time to conduct a review and give a progress report on the Project.

3GT Strengths Project is my effort of “giving” after an inspiring learning journey about Character Strengths with VIA Institute on Character.  3GT Strenghts Project offers each month  a FREE VIA Character Strengths profiling analysis report known as ViaPro Report (see sample) worth USD40.00 to one person who would like to learn more about his/her own strengths and how to use the strengths.

To-date, I have given away 6 VIAPro Reports to 6 persons and provided coaching sessions to go through the report with them.  Of the 6,  2 are ladies and 4 are gentlemen. 5 of them are between the age of 24-28, while one is aged 33.

The sessions were enlightening for me as I observed how each of them learned more about themselves in the process.  There were a few interesting observations I made:

The PoSiTiVes:

  • A Good Conversation Tool – VIAPro Report is an excellent tool to start a coaching conversation that gradually leading to a deeper level.
  • Accurate and Reflective– All 6 agree that the top 5-8 character strengths represent their strengths well, even though some disagree with the order of the ranking.
  • A-HA Moments – There is almost always some “A-HA” moments for the coachees, having sudden realisation or a deeper understanding of themselves, while we go through the VIAPro Report.  For instance, a coachee suddenly realised why he had been so unhappy with his current job despite the good monetary reward. His utmost character strength was Fairness, Equity and Justice. His work environment was providing just the opposite.
  • Values-linked – VIAPro Report not only tells of a person’s character strengths, it gives a good gauge of the person’s value system – what are the things that are important to them.  I rely on it a great deal, when I conduct career coaching, to assess work-environment fit. A good example will be the one I mentioned above.

The GaPS:

  • Career Relevance or the Lack thereof – Perhaps it was the age-group (24-33) that I am dealing with.  At this age, career success is their greatest concern. Their immediate response to the VIAPro Report was …”So, what does this mean to my career?”  They are obviously much less interested to know about their charater strengths than their skill strengths that will bring about career success.
  • Focus on Weaknesses – There is almost always a tendency for coachees to regard the lesser strengths as “weaknesses” and focus their questions on “how to improve” these lesser strengths them.  For instance, one gentleman was so disappointed that his “leadership” strength was at the bottom five that throughout the coaching session, his questions were just on how to strenghten his leadership skills.

Are you interested to find out your character strengths and get a FREE VIAPro profiling analysis? If yes, please click HERE.

从去年九月,我开始了3GT Strengths Project 3GT计划至今,已有六个月。六个月是一个很好的时间来对3GT计划作一个进度报告。




准确反映:即使有些人不同意它们的排名顺序, 所有六位朋友都同意他们的VIAPro报告所列出的五至八项的性格优点相当准确地反映了他们的性格上的长处。
恍然大悟的一刻:几乎每一位朋友都在我们讨论VIAPro报告时,有他们自己恍然大悟的一刻 — 一个突然觉悟,或突然更深入的明瞭自己的一刻。例如,其中的一位朋友终于明白为什么他尽管工作上有很好的酬劳,他还是非常的不开心。他最强的性格优点是为“公正,公平和正义”。而,他的工作正正提供了一个相反的工作环境。

职业关连:也许是因为他们的年龄层(24-33),事业的成功发展是他们最大的焦点和关注。他们对VIAPro报告的即时反应通常都是……“那,这是否意味着我的职业生涯能/不能成功吗?” 很明显的,他们对他们的技术优势远比性格优点来得感兴趣。这是因为他们认为前者会带来事业的成功。

你有兴趣找出你的性格优点,并得到一份免费的VIAPro性格分析报告吗? 如果你有兴趣,请点击这里

Two Bad Bricks and Positive Psycholgy 兩塊出錯的砖和正面心理学

I recently listened on youtube  to a talk by the venerable Ajahn Brahm, a buddhist monk resides in Perth Australia, speaking on the topic of happiness (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHXkwj_0MIU&feature=related).  In this exceptionally simple yet profound talk, he shared a story of his personal encounter called “Two Bad Bricks”.

In the story, the venerable Ajahn Brahm was building a monasetry. When he completed one side of the wall with 1000 bricks, he was shocked to see that two bricks amongst the 1000 were not properly aligned. He was so agonized by these two bricks that spoilt the whole wall that he thought of taking down the wall, but that was not possible.  He was so upset over the two bad bricks that he could not stop thinking about it and lost sleep over it. Until one day, when what a visitor said woke him up.

The visitor said, “That’s a nice wall.”  Ajahn Brahm would not believe his ears and asked the visitor did he not see the two bad bricks that were not placed nicely.  And this was what Ajan Brahm said: “What he (the visitor) said next changed my whole view of that wall, of myself, and of many other aspects of life. He said, ‘Yes. I can see those two bad bricks. But I can see the 998 good bricks as well.’ “

Listening to “Two Bad Bricks” , I can’t help but notice how well it has encapsulated what positive psychology and strength-based coaching are about:  We must learn to see the whole picture — see the 998 good bricks and the 2 bad bricks.  Only then we can appreciate the whole beautiful wall. 

We often focus so much on seeing the negatives and finding faults that we miss the whole beautiful picture and wasted good talents.  It is a very good lesson learned.  This is indeed the essence of positive psychology and strength-based coaching: while we help individuals to work on areas that need improvement, we must also help them to identify and appreciate their strengths. And, from there, help them utilise their strengths and bring out the best in them.

You can also read the “Two Bad Bricks” story at this web-link.

我最近在 youtbue 听了阿姜布拉姆大师的一个有关于“幸福”的演說(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHXkwj_0MIU&feature=related)。阿姜布拉姆大师是一位居住在澳大利亚珀斯佛教僧侶。在他这个简单而又非常深刻的演說里,他和大家分享了一个他亲身经历的故事:“兩塊出錯的砖”。


那位游客看到那面一千塊砖的牆,赞道,“这是一面漂亮的墙。” 阿姜布拉姆大师几乎不敢相信自己的耳朵,问游客难道他没有看到那两块没有好好放置的砖?

阿姜布拉姆大师说:“他(游客)接下来所说的,彻彻底底, 完完全全改变了我对那面墙,以及对生命等诸多方面的整体观。游客说:’当然,我可以看到这两个出了錯的砖。但我可以看到九百九十八塊好的砖呀。’

我听完 阿姜布拉姆大师的故事,深觉 “兩塊出錯的砖“ 给正面心理學以及实力辅导教练作了一个很好的概括:我们应该学习看到完整画面:看到九百九十八塊沒出錯的好砖,也同时看到那兩塊出了差錯的砖。唯有这样,我们方不会錯过欣赏整面美丽的墙。

我们往往因为过於专注负面和发掘缺点,而错过了整个美丽的画面或浪费了良好的人才。这是值得我们学习的一课。 这真正是积极的心理和实力辅导教练的真髓:我们应帮助他人进行需要改善的,但也绝对必须帮助他们辨识他们的优点长处以及如何最好的去利用自己的长处。 让他们可以发挥所长。

你可在这里 读到”兩塊出錯的砖“ 的故事(繁体字)。

Listening to the Experts 听君一席话。

While our 7-week training with VIA Institute has ended; our learning continues, thanks to VIA’s generosity.

If you are keen to learn character strengths and its application, you really should not miss this great opportunity:  In November 2011, VIA Institute launched its VIA Pioneers Speaker Series where Dr. Ryan,  VIA Education Director, hosts “specialists and experts discussing the application of character strengths in a variety of practice domains….VIA will host a variety of tracks dealing with different areas of application, such as counseling, business and education.” They allow anyone who is interested to sign-up to watch LIVE and get the opportunity to pose questions to the experts. What’s more VIA does not charge — it is free.

I signed up for the first one by Dr Tayyab Rashid who spoke on “Character Strengths in Counselling/Psychotherapy”.  Dr Tayyab is a licensed clinical psychologist at the Health & Wellness Centre at the University of Toronto Scarborough, Canada. He is also the Lead Consultant for Applied Research for the VIA Institute and a co-developer of Positive Psychotherapy with Dr. Martin Seligman.

What strike me the most at Dr Tayyab’s talk were his view points on “Why We Should Work on Strengths“.  Here is a summary of his views:

  1. If our purpose is to see a person grows, focussing our mind and efforts solely on remediation is just not sufficient.  Strengths, according to Dr Tayyab, are much more effective generators of change– and making changes is a prerequisite to a person’s growth.
  2. Working on strengths creates a different mindset and positive emotions. Positive emotions brings about the urge to “collaborate” and opens up one’s mind to see alternatives.
  3. Working on strengths is a better coping strategy as the mental attention is on strengths. Using strengths language allows people to view challenges differently, hence cope better.
  4. They (the strengths) are already “there”, why not work on them?

You can still listen to Dr Tayyab Rashid’s talk HERE.

Useful Link: VIA Institute website http://viacharacter.org/www/


如果您对性格优点及其应用感兴趣,您可不要错过这个大好机会:VIA研究中心在2011年十一月推出先锋演讲系列。它将由莱恩博士,VIA研究中心的教育总监,主持邀请专家讨论各种对性格优点在不同领域(如咨询,商业和教育)的实践和应用。VIA研究中心允许任何有兴趣的人报名观看现场直播,并有机会向专家提出问题。而且,VIA不收分文 – 它是免费的。

我参加了第一个演讲系列:Tayyab Rashid博士主讲的“性格优点和心理辅导”。Tayyab Rashid博士是加拿大多伦多大学卫生及健康中心的临床心理学家。他也是VIA研究中心的首席顾问,以及马丁塞利格曼博士一同开发正面心理治疗的合作伙伴。


  • 如果我们的目的是帮助他人的发展和成长,仅仅集中我们的思想和功夫在整治上是不足够的。优点强项绝对是更有效地去促使一个人的改变 — 而改变正是一个人成长的前提。
  • 致力於发挥所长帮助他人建立起一个不同的的心态和正面的情绪。正面的情绪促进一个人“合作”的欲望和态度。它也帮助开扩一个人的想法,让他看到多方面的可能性。
  • 致力於发挥所长是为应对挑战更有效的策略。这是因为它将一个人的精神和注意力集中在他的优点强项上。使用优点强项的语言,让人们产生不同的观点,从而更积极地面对挑战。
  • 它们(您的优点强项)根本都已经是您的一部分了,为什么不好好地开拓应用?

您仍然可以在这里 听到Tayyab Rashid博士的演讲。

相关链接:VIA研究中心网址 http://viacharacter.org/www/

10 Things re: Love of Learning 十大关于热爱学习

The second character strength I learned from “Character Strengths and Virtues, A Handbook and Classification” : “Love of Learning“.  It again confirms and verifies the important role played by teachers, the learning environment and the nature of tasks in cultivating one’s love towards learning a subject matter.

Definition:  This strength describes the way in which a person engages new information and skills.  People with this strength experience positive feelings when they are in the process of acquiring new information and skills, it can be just building on existing knowledge or learning something entirely new.

 My 10 Key Takeaways:

1.  The Love of Learning strength comes from intrinsic motivation i.e. learning for the sake of learning, for the enjoyment and challenge.
2.  People with love of learning must feel they are mastering a skill or filling in the gaps in their knowledge in the process of learning.
3.  The learning environment is a web of relations: the learner and the materials; the teacher to the materials; the learner to the teacher; the teacher to the learner’s academic work; the learner to peers regarding academic work and the relation among the learner, parents and teacher regarding academic work.  Each of these relations must support engagement and collaboration.
4.  Teacher plays a key role in supporting the love of learning for a certain subject by how he/she –

  • Structures the content and curriculum
  • Enables students to make meaningful and connections to the content
  • Genuinely likes the students and develops a connection to the students
  • Develops a clear plan for the class that build on what the students knows, focuses on the students as learners and conveys an expectation that they can and will learn
  • Supports students to sustain the frustration that is inherent in learning

5.  Constraints of the school setting (limited course options, grades, pedagogical practices) may limit opportunities for interest development.
6.  It is important that students/learners appreciate the structure of the classroom or task as having a mastery approach – this can be accomplished by emphasizing goals.
7.  Love of Leaning can be nurtured by tasks which are (i) complex enough to require collaboration and encourage sharing of different perspectives and (ii) authentic and meaningful.
8.  Love of Learning can be strengthened by fulfilling people’s need for belongingness, competence, positive feelings and utility.
9.  People with love of learning place greater value on the content that they are learning.
10. The Love of Learning strength has to be nurtured if it is to be sustained over time.

Related link: The importance of a good teacher: “Galileo’s Teacher”.  http://ahypatia.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/galileos-teacher/

Is Love of Learning one of your character strengths? You can find out and get a FREE full character strength report from HERE.



1.  热爱学习来自内在的动力,也即是为了学习的乐趣和挑战而学习。
2.  热爱学习的人在学习过程中必须感受到他们在掌握着一门技能,或在填补着他们的知识差距。
3.  学习的环境是一个关系网络:学习者和教材的; 教师和教材的;教师和学习者的学术工作的; 同行的学术工作和学习者的学术工作以及彼此之间的关系,家长和教师的。每一个以上的关系人都必须支持在学习上的参与和协作。
4.  教师在支持学生对热爱学习某一主题有着关键性的作用 —

  • 结构课程的内容;
  • 让学生对课程的内容感到有意义和有联系;
  • 真正地喜欢学生及与学生产生联系;
  • 开发一个明确的,建立在学生现有知识上的教学计划。以学生是学习者为焦点,传达教师对学生有能力学习的期望;
  • 对学生在学习过程中所面对的挫折给予支持。

5.  学校设置(选修课程,等级,教学实践)的限制,往往会影响学习者发展兴趣的机会。
6.  学习者对课堂或任务的结构是否有一个掌握方法的看法是很重要的 –这可以通过强调设定目标来完成。
7.  我们可以通过以下性质的任务来加强学习者对学习的热爱:(一)任务的复杂程度必需要学习者无间的合作并分享彼此不同的观点;和(二)任务是真实和有意义的。
8.  我们也可以通过满足人们的归属感,对能力,积极的情感和实用度的需求来加强学习者对学习的热爱。
9.  热爱学习的人把学习的价值放在学习的内容上。
10.  一个人若要持续他热爱学习的性格优点,他必须对它加以培育。



10 Things I Learn about CreAtiViTy 十大关于“创造力”

I will start sharing my key learning points on every character strength I learned from “Character Strengths and Virtues, A Handbook and Classification“. Let’s start with the character strength “CreAtiViTy”.

Definition of CreAtiViTy:it must have 2 components:

  • Must produce ideas or behaviors that are recognized as original; and
  • The behaviors or ideas must make a positive contribution to that person’s or to the others’ lives.

My 10 Key Learning Points:

  1. CreAtiVe people are not necessarily intelligent but they are not unintelligent.
  2. What differentiate CreAtiVe people from others is their disposition – they are generally independent, non-conforming, unconventional, have wide interest, open to new experiences and a boldness to take risk.
  3. CreAtiViTy is best nurtured in homes that provide many opportunities for intellectual, cultural and aesthetic stimulation. 
  4. CreAtiViTy is best nurtured when parents encourage development of independent interests.
  5. To advance CreAtiViTy, one must work hard.  The 10-Year Rule says: “No person can make creative contributions to a particular domain without first devoting a full decade to the mastery of the necessary knowledge and skills.”
  6. CreAtiViTy needs an environment that is supportive, reinforcing, open and informal.
  7. CreAtiViTy will be suppressed when CreAtiVe people are put under time pressure or their work closely supervised, constantly subject to critical examination.
  8. Highly CreAtiVe people tend to work on several ideas at the same time. They like to incubate one idea while working on another allowing cross-fertilisation ideas to take place.
  9. A great deal of CreAtiViTy took place in a group settings i.e. brainstorming.
  10. To nurture CreAtiViTy, use brainstorming or the teaching of heuristic abstracted from observation of creative people working.  Eg. SCAMPER (substitution, combination, adaptation, modification, putting to other uses, elimination and rearrangement).

Role Model: my vote goes to none other than the late Steve Jobs, whose CreAtiViTy has changed the way we live our lives.

Is CreAtiViTy one of your character strengths?  You can find out and get a FREE full character strength report from HERE.



  • 所产生的构想概念或行为是被公认为原创的;
  • 该行为或构想概念必须对创造人或他人的生命作出积极的贡献。


  1. 拥有创造力的人不一定是绝顶聪明的,他们却绝不是愚蠢的。
  2. 拥有创造力的人和其他人的区别在於他们的性格。他们往往是独立的,不喜欢符合规范,标新立异,拥有广泛的兴趣,喜爱新的经验和拥有面对风险的勇气。
  3. 最好培育创造力的是在提供了许多知识,文化和审美机会的家庭。
  4. 那些常常鼓励孩子发展个别兴趣的父母往往能培育孩子的创造力。
  5. 要提高创造力,就必须努力辛勤地工作。根据“十年规则”所说:“除非一个人投入了整整十年的时间去掌握所有必要的知识和技术,否则,没有任何人可以对一个领域作出创造性的贡献。”
  6. 创造力需要一个能给予支持,辅助,而且开放的和非正式性的环境。
  7. 当有创造力的人面对时间压力,或他们的工作受到密切监督以及不断地被严格审查,他们的创造力便会受到压抑。
  8. 极富创造力的人往往同时拥有好几个思路。他们经常在致力於一个概念,却又孵化着另一个想法,从而让它们相互交流。
  9. 有许多的创意是在集体自由讨论下而产生的。
  10. 要培养创造力,可用集体自由讨论或以观察创作人工作的启发式教学。



THE Book!这本书!

I finally bought it — “Character Strengths and Virtues, A Handbook and Classification” by Dr. Christopher Peterson and Dr. Martin Seligman. 

I thought if I want to be serious about coaching through strengths, I need to understand the 24 character strengths a lot more in-depth.  It was not an easy read, especially for non-psychologists, but it certainly contains wealth of information about each character strength.  For each character strengths, Dr Peterson and Dr Seligman described in great details its definition, theoretical traditions, measures, correlates and consequences, development, enabling and inhibiting factors, gender, cross-national and cross-cultural aspects and deliberate interventions.