The Divine Comedy

FOR a week use one of your signature strengths in a new way each day. The list below will give you some ideas about how to do this.

Alan Carr, Positive Psychlology, 2nd ed., 73-76.  Source: This exercise is based on that given in Peterson, C. (2006). A primer in positive psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 158–162.




[and knowledge]


Select a routine daily task and do it completely differently

Write a very brief accurate description of the most beautiful scene you can call to mind


Select a local place you pass every day, but know little about, and find out everything about it

Come home a different way from work or college and notice everything new that you see

judgment (open-mindedness)

Write down an opinion you strongly hold; then write down five reasons why someone might doubt its validity

Next time someone says something important you disagree with, ask them why they believe it so strongly; listen carefully to what they say and try to understand their point of view

love of learning,

Make a point of learning a new idea each day

Spend 15 minutes today reading a book or article that you would not otherwise read


Next time you are with two friends who are arguing, don’t take sides; instead try to understand both sides of the argument

For 1 day, spend more time questioning and listening than talking, and only give an opinion or advice when asked, and then only after careful deliberation






For 1 day, only say things you genuinely believe to be true

Do one thing each day that you think reflects your most deeply held values


Today, plan to do one thing, assignment, or task to completion and follow through on this plan

Take an important task you have been avoiding doing for some time, and plan to do it in small stages; then follow through on your plan Zest

    (honesty, Integrity)

Do something today because you really want to, not because you think you should

vitality (zest)

Sleep for 8 hours, eat three moderate-sized healthy meals, and exercise vigorously for an hour during one 24-hour period; notice how energetic you feel as a result





Intimacy (love)

Do a favour for friend or stranger and don’t make a big deal out of it

Visit someone who is lonely and listen to them


Do something with your friend or partner that they really want to do

Accept a compliment by saying ‘thanks’ and no more than that

social intelligence

When someone says or does something to annoy you, don’t immediately retaliate; try to understand their motives

Do or say something to make another person feel at ease in a tense situation





citizenship (teamwork)

When someone says or does something to annoy you, don’t immediately retaliate; try to understand their motives

Do or say something to make another person feel at ease in a tense situation


Today, when you find you have made a mistake in your dealings with others, admit it and take responsibility for it

Listen to people with whom you disagree without interrupting them


Organise a social event for your friends or family

Make a new person or an unpopular person in your social circle feel welcome and part of the groupTeamwork

Today, turn up on time and do more than your fair share of whatever team work you are involved in

Do some voluntary work for a charitable organisation





forgiveness, (& mercy)

Write a letter of forgiveness to someone who has wronged you, but don’t send it; read it each day for a week

Once a day when you feel annoyed with someone, let go of the feeling

humility (& modesty)

Today, don’t talk about yourself

Compliment a friend on something he or she does better than you


Today, ask yourself if the health risks are worth it next time you eat junk food, drink more than two units of alcohol, or drive over the speed limit

Curb one excess today


Count to 10 the next time you feel you are going to lose your temper

Give up gossiping and saying mean things about others for today





Awe (appreciation of beauty and excellence)

Stop and notice the natural beauty all around you twice a day

Write down the most beautiful thing you see every day for a week


Meditate today for 15 minutes

Think about the purpose of your life today


At the end of the day write down three good things that you experienced and for which you are grateful

Write a gratitude letter to someone who helped you and you never thanked, describing in detail how they helped you; send them the letter


Write down your goals for the next month and make plans for accomplishing them

Think of a thing that disappointed you, and the positive opportunities it created for you


Make one person smile today

Make fun of yourself today









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