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I finished my first week of Science of Well-Being today and I have to say I’m really glad I enrolled. In fact I wish I had started with this course when I first set out on this self-guided learning journey.

The videos were a great introduction, but most eye-opening part was the tests set up to measure your levels of happiness and your character strengths. My happiness level was lower than I expected, only 2.6 out of 5, and my number one character strength is…judgment?

I never even thought of judgment as a character strength let alone considering it to be one of mine but in reading the description I think it actually does apply to me.

“Thinking things through and examining them from all sides; not jumping to conclusions; being able to change one’s mind in light of evidence; weighing all evidence fairly.”

Some of my other top strengths were perspective, love of learning, prudence, and appreciation of beauty and excellence. All true, but still quite surprising. There were others much lower on the list—not weaknesses per se but traits that just “come less naturally to me”—that I wished were nearer the top but all in all I’m thrilled to have found the words to describe a part of myself I’ve never quite been able to put into words.

I also started week one of Memoir and Personal Essay: Managing Your Relationship with the Reader but after the first couple of videos I felt I’d spent enough time on learning for the day and committed to picking it up again tomorrow. I have to pace myself and avoid burnout, boredom, and becoming too consumed and neglecting my other goals and interests.

Not much writing got done, but I felt cruddy and distracted this morning. It wasn’t until after lunch that I was able to wrangle my mind and focus enough to form thoughts or retain information. I think tomorrow will be better.


Update: Had my wife take the character strength survey too. Her greatest strength is fairness, and that is exactly right. Fairness came up surprisingly low for me and in taking it over with her I realize there is more than one way to think of fairness. She treats everyone the same, both for good and bad, I treat everyone as I believe they deserve in accord with their actions. Comparing the rest of our results was really interesting too. In some ways we are really similar and in some ways we are very, very different but in a good way.