Hope | Character Strength | VIA Institute

Become Aware Of Your Strength

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

The character strength of hope has to do with positive expectations about the future. It involves optimistic thinking and focusing on good things to come. Hope is more than a feel-good emotion. It is an action-oriented strength involving agency, the motivation and confidence that goals can be reached, and also that many effective pathways can be devised in order to get to that desired future. Optimism is closely linked with having a particular explanatory style (how we explain the causes of bad events). People using an optimistic explanatory style interpret events as external, unstable and specific. Those using a pessimistic explanatory style interpret events as internal, stable and global.

Which virtue is this strength?
Hope 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

Research findings on the benefits of the strength of Hope found Hope is one of the two-character strengths most associated with life satisfaction and well-being. People who are hopeful are less likely to be anxious or depressed. If they do become anxious or depressed, those feelings tend not to overwhelm them. Hopeful people tend to be healthier, happier, and more successful. Hope leads to greater longevity.

Explore Your Strength

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

Questions to Help You Understand Your Strength Better
  • What are the conditions that have led you to be hopeful in your life?
  • How do you balance what is realistic and what is unrealistic in terms of your expression of hope and optimism?
  • What role does hope play during challenging times in your life? How do you express hope at those times?
Examples of this Strength in Action

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

  • Noticing accomplishments with your relationship partner.
  • Setting a goal at work for tasks you want to accomplish that day. For any goal you make, consider at least three pathways by which it could be achieved.
  • Offering a friend the gift of hopeful comments and ideas.

Apply Your Strength

How can you make the most of hope in your everyday life? In the moments that matter most? Here's an idea.
  • Write an internal movie that features one of your goals. Picture yourself overcoming the obstacles, developing pathways around and through problems, to reach your goal.