Perspective | Character Strength | VIA Institute

Become Aware Of Your Strength

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

What is Perspective

Perspective means the ability to see the bigger picture in life. Perspective is about being able to see the forest as well as the trees, to avoid getting wrapped up in the small details when there are bigger issues to consider. While listening to others, perspective helps you to simultaneously think about life lessons, proper conduct, and what’s best for the situation being discussed. This ability to look at systems as a whole, or to think in big terms, helps you to offer good advice. Perspective is distinct from intelligence but represents a high level of knowledge, the capacity to give advice and to recognize and weight multiple sides before making decisions. It allows the individual to address important questions about the conduct and meaning of life.

Which virtue is this strength?
Perspective is a strength within the virtue category of wisdom, one of six virtues that subcategorize the 24 strengths. Wisdom describes strengths that help you gather and use knowledge. The other strengths in Wisdom are creativity , curiosity , judgment , love of learning , and perspective .
What the Science Says

Research findings on the benefits of the strength of Perspective found The ability to think in terms of big issues such as death and one’s role in the world is more robustly linked to the well-being of older people than are conditions such as physical health, socioeconomic status, financial situation, and physical and social environments. Individuals with perspective are valued by others seeking counsel since those individuals help them see the big picture and alternative points of view. Perspective enables people to learn from mistakes and from the strengths of others.

Explore Your Strength

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

Questions to Help You Understand Your Strength Better
  • When has looking at a problem from another level been most helpful for you personally and for others around you?
  • What are examples of times when your perspective was easiest to share?
  • What have been one or two of your missed opportunities in sharing this strength?
Examples of this Strength in Action

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

  • Approaching a co-worker whom you know has been having a conflict or difficulty at work. Offering to help them explore a different perspective, giving concrete advice, or simply providing a listening ear.
  • Helping a family member weigh all possibilities when they are dealing with a personal dilemma.
  • When facing a conflict in your life you stop and access what your best option is going forward.

Apply Your Strength

How can you make the most of perspective in your everyday life? In the moments that matter most? Here are some ideas.
  • For your next interaction, first focus on listening carefully and then focus on sharing your ideas and thoughts.
  • Read quotes on wisdom, find one that resonates and then re-write it to make it your own and put it to memory. Try to think about ways that you can live truer to that quote.
  • Find someone wise (alive or someone who has passed on), read or watch a film on their life, and identify how their life can guide your decisions and actions.
Develop All 24 Strengths
Develop All 24 Strengths

The VIA Total 24 Report explores your entire character strengths profile. Purchase this report to boost self-awareness and confidence, cultivate greater happiness, and find greater well-being.