Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence | Character Strengths | VIA Institute

Become Aware Of Your Strength

Understand what appreciation of beauty & excellence is all about so you can begin recognizing it in yourself and others.
What is Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence?

Those who express an appreciation of beauty & excellence notice and appreciate beauty, excellence and/or skilled performance in all domains of life, from nature to art to mathematics to science to everyday experience.

People high in Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence are responsive to these three types of goodness:

Physical Beauty.

This may include auditory, tactile or abstract. This type of goodness produces awe and wonder in the person experiencing it.

Skill or Talent (Excellence).

This is often energizing, and compels a person to pursue their own goals. It inspires admiration.

Virtue or moral goodness (moral beauty).

Virtuous goodness makes someone want to be better, more loving and creates feelings of elevation.

Which virtue is this strength?
Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence is a strength within the virtue category of transcendence, one of six virtues that subcategorize the 24 strengths. Transcendence describes strengths that help you connect to the larger universe and provide meaning. The other strengths in Transcendence are appreciation of beauty & excellence , gratitude , hope , humor , and spirituality .
What the Science Says

Exercises focused on increasing the appreciation of beauty and excellence have been shown to boost happiness and lower depression, in the short term and possibly beyond.

Explore Your Strength

Reflect on how you’ve used appreciation of beauty & excellence in the past, in everyday life and during special or critical times.

Questions to Help You Understand Your Strength Better

These questions can help guide you in understanding the unique nuances of appreciation of beauty and excellence as it applies to you.

  • Under what conditions (people, places, activities) are you most appreciative of beauty and excellence?
  • How does appreciation of beauty or appreciation of excellence affect your work, relationships, use of leisure time, and community involvement?
  • To what extent do you appreciate beauty versus appreciating excellence?
Examples of this Strength in Action

Wondering about times that you may be using this strength? Here are a few examples of appreciation of beauty and excellence at work in the world.

  • Observing one tree branch, root, flower, or leaf and seeing the fullness of life in it.
  • Noticing the good feelings in seeing someone give a donation to support a good cause.
  • Seeing the excellence in a child learning to play baseball and slowly building his or her skill.

Apply Your Strength

How can you make the most of appreciation of beauty and excellence in your everyday life? In the moments that matter most? Here are some ideas.
  • Keep a "beauty log." When you believe you are seeing something beautiful-whether it is from nature, is human-made (e.g.,artwork) or is the virtuous behavior of others-write it down. Describe the beauty in a few sentences.
  • Get regular exposure to green space in your environment, especially if you live or work in an urban setting.
  • Pause to appreciate your inner beauty. One way to do this is to see your character strengths and recall how you have used them to bring benefit to others.