Bravery | Character Strength | VIA Institute

Become Aware Of Your Strength

Understand what bravery is all about so you can begin recognizing it in yourself and others.
What is Bravery?

To be brave is to face your challenges, threats, or difficulties. It involves valuing a goal or conviction and acting upon it, whether popular or not. A central element involves facing – rather than avoiding – fears.

There are three types of bravery (an individual may possess one of these or a combination):

  • Physical bravery (e.g., firefighters, police officers, soldiers)
  • Psychological bravery (e.g., facing painful aspects of oneself)
  • Moral bravery (e.g., speaking up for what's right, even if it's an unfavorable opinion to a group)
Which virtue is this strength?
Bravery is a strength within the virtue category of courage, one of six virtues that subcategorize the 24 strengths. Courage describes strengths that help you exercise your will and face adversity. The other strengths in Courage are bravery , honesty , perseverance , and zest .
What the Science Says

Research findings on the benefits of the strength of bravery found that Bravery helps people tolerate the vulnerability that is part of growing close to others, thereby helping in the formation and maintenance of close relationships. Bravery involves taking both action and risks, two critical ingredients for personal growth and achievement. This Strength is speaking up when things are wrong or unfair. Ultimately, such actions can lead to significant long-term benefits, often for the greater good of others. These actions also engender trust.

Explore Your Strength

Reflect on how you’ve used bravery in the past, in everyday life and during special or critical times.

Questions to Help You Understand Your Strength Better
  • How is your bravery expressed, for example, by taking physical risks, supporting unpopular positions, being emotionally vulnerable, thinking unconventionally?
  • How does bravery cause people to admire you?
  • How does bravery exclude you from certain experiences or opportunities?
Examples of this Strength in Action

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

  • Standing up for the kid who is being bullied.
  • Firefighters who run into a burning building to save those inside despite the risk to their own safety.
  • Taking on more responsibility with a project, or beginning a new project that involves a difficult challenge for you.

Apply Your Strength

How can you make the most of Bravery in your everyday life? In the moments that matter most? Here are some ideas.
  • Tap into your personal bravery by attending something you are afraid of that most people are not.
  • Speak up at a community meeting or write about an unpopular idea for a public outlet.
  • Think of brave role models in your community in order to be inspired and to resist peer pressure that might block you from engaging in noble values and meaningful causes.