Take Free Character Test To Build on Your Strength

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” Lao Tzu

The concept of building on your character strengths is compelling as; naturally, it has a practical impact on your thought process, your experiences, and your actions. Mainly, the idea is to stop thinking about what is wrong with you or your problems and all the opposing views of oneself and concentrate on your best qualities.

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Igor Morski artwork

“The aim of Positive Psychology is to catalyze a change in Psychology from a preoccupation only with repairing the worst things in life to also building the best qualities in life.”  – Martin Seligman

Exerting mindful energy to change the gloomy, critical lens about yourself and shifting the view towards your positive qualities is a buffer against anxiety, lack of motivation, the need for approval, or perfectionism. What makes us effective is our ability to master our strength, a positive mind stimulus leading to a fulfilling life that contributes to our wellbeing.

What makes us strong are the qualities that show high moral standards; in other words, “virtues.” In Character Strengths and Virtues, Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology and Christopher Peterson, identifies six classes of virtues shared practically in all cultures that made up 24 measurable dimensions of human strengths, based on scientific research and by extensive studies on all major religions and philosophical traditions:

Wisdom and Knowledge: creativity, curiosity, love of learning, perspective

Courage: bravery, persistence, integrity

Humanity: love, kindness, social intelligence

Justice: citizenship, fairness, leadership

Temperance: forgiveness and mercy, humility, prudence, self-control

Transcendence: an appreciation of beauty & excellence, gratitude, hope, humor, spirituality

Developing the core capacities of human beings achieved by the virtues mentioned above helps individuals maintain their wellbeing and live an accomplished life. To apply this concept, the positive psychology researchers have created tools and tests in a practical and rigorous scientific manner to identify the strengths of character measured by their virtues. The aim is to recognize your signature strength and practice it in new ways each day. For example, if your highest strength is creativity, each day you practice different ways to be creative, whether in introducing yourself, blending creativity in your appearance, learning about a creative person, and so forth.

 

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Igor Morski artwork

At the core of every individual lies specific character strengths that once honed solidly boost self-confidence gives a sense of direction and the drive to achieve goals. However, innate talent is not enough to ensure a successful result. The ability to improve and play on your strengths while skillfully discern when, how, and in what context your best qualities can amplify productivity and growth is the key to success.

As you focus on improving your good character traits, positive emotions will take shape. This optimistic element encourages tenacity and helps to cope with your vulnerabilities and challenges. You can learn more about your character strengths for free on www.viacharacter.org. The VIA Institute on Character is a non-profit organization based in Cincinnati, Ohio, dedicated to bringing the science of character strengths to the world by supporting research, creating and validating character development surveys, and developing practical tools for individuals and practitioners.

“Positive Psychology takes you through the countryside of pleasure and gratification, up into the high country of strength and virtue, and finally to the peaks of lasting fulfilment: meaning and purpose (Seligman 2002, p. 61).”

It is worth mentioning that we have a social responsibility for the benefit of society and our individual lives to engage, be useful, and lead a meaningful life. To fulfill this obligation, two of the fundamental elements that reinforce the wellness of our state of mind and enrich our life and life for others are to cultivate our strengths powered by optimism.

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Igor Morski artwork

Interview with Visual Artist, Faith XLVII

Faith XLVII is an internationally-acclaimed visual artist from South Africa who is currently based in Los Angeles.
Faith XLVII is an internationally-acclaimed visual artist from South Africa who is currently based in Los Angeles.

Street art is one of the powerful forms of self-expression that Faith XLVII, an internationally-acclaimed visual artist from South Africa, uses to touch souls, raise hope, and expose hurt and oppression. Each time a metamorphosized perspective comes to light through her creations, from raising questions about issues that affect our daily lives to reflect on our society. Smart and resourceful muralists, Faith XLVII, explores human experiences, interconnectedness, and the affinity to nature in a creative approach. She captures metaphors, fragility with an intent to provoke universal love.

A disciple of enlightenment, philosophy, and activism, Faith XLVII shares her visual stories through different media such as printmaking, projection mapping, video installation, drawings on streets, and galleries.

Read my interview with Faith XLVII:

Jupilings: What motivates you to create-

FAITH XLVII: Just being alive is motivation enough. The constant flux and challenges of life and perception.

.Courtesy of Faith XLVII
Courtesy of Faith XLVII

Jupilings: Pragmatism and flexibility are an effective response to global challenges still your art is a protest against them- 

FAITH XLVII: Firstly, I don’t think you’re correct in saying that my work is a protest against Pragmatism and Flexibility. I walk the line between reality and the unseen. I believe the two are interrelated.  So awakening to the mystical and the fantastic can also open one to real-world possibilities.  Working on our inner understanding, helps us to be able to understand and make sense of the outer realities.  Global challenges are very overwhelming for the individual to take on, but when you understand that they are a product of our collective mindsets, then that brings the conclusion that working on the individual helps with the consciousness of the whole.  I don’t draw lines between spiritual/personal/ political perspectives. You cannot separate one from the other.

Courtesy of faith47 - lay your weapons down, 1 NYC 2015
Courtesy of faith47 – lay your weapons down, 1 NYC 2015

Jupilings: What does spirituality mean to you-

FAITH XLVII: The constant practice and perseverance in living a conscious, self-aware life.

Courtesy of Faith XLVII - 315 BC - 307 BC Detroit 2016
Courtesy of Faith XLVII – 315 BC – 307 BC Detroit 2016

Jupilings: What is your perspective in life- 

FAITH XLVII: My perspective is still a work in progress.  I do agree with the Wiccan Rede:

‘Do as thy will and harm none.’

I also feel that nature contains all the solutions to the problems we are facing personally, politically and ecologically, and that we should meditate on this.

Courtesy of Faith XLVII - Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto4 - "The health (welfare, good, salvation, felicity) of the people should be the supreme law".
Courtesy of Faith XLVII Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto4 – “The health (welfare, good, salvation, felicity) of the people should be the supreme law”.

Jupilings: What does women empowerment mean to you?

FAITH XLVII: Woman empowerment, like Black empowerment, or any kind of civil rights movement, is the attempt to balance the scales after decades of oppression due to monotheistic white male power structures.  Essentially these movements attempt to move us towards a more EQUAL society where all demographics can have a say in how we are progressing as a species.  We must insist on the dignity of all human beings! I also add animals and the planet to that statement.

Courtesy of FaithXLVII - 580 BC - 265 BC Athens
Courtesy of FaithXLVII – 580 BC – 265 BC Athens

Jupilings: What do you do to conquer fear or self-doubt:

FAITH XLVII: I realise my own insignificance in the scheme of things. Fragility is something we are told to be ashamed of and fight through. But I find some strength therein. We are all impermanent, and our lives fleeting. By accepting the very notion of your own short existence, we can gain perspective. Working from that space allows for a certain amount of freedom and realism.

Courtesy of Faith XLVII - Astronomia Nova Sweden
Courtesy of Faith XLVII – Astronomia Nova Sweden

Jupilings: Best piece of advice you have been given-

FAITH XLVII: “If the world appears to be filled with suffering, it is, nevertheless, radiating pure wisdom.”  – Rudolf Steiner.

Courtesy of Faith XLVII - ENCHANTED WORLD
Courtesy of Faith XLVII – ENCHANTED WORLD

Jupilings: Which movie you would have liked to be the leading actor: 

FAITH XLVII: Princess Mononoke and/or Spirited Away

Jupilings: What is your life motto?

FAITH XLVII: Focus on the Breath

Courtesy of Faith XLVII - THE UNBOUND
Courtesy of Faith XLVII – THE UNBOUND

The Book of RUMI, Interview with Maryam Mafi

If you — wandering Sufi — are looking for the supreme treasure, do not look outside. Look within, and seek that.”

We climb the mountains, dive deep into the oceans, fly high as an eagle, paint a moment in time, dance to the rhythms to stretch our mental and physical capabilities. We strive to overcome our demons, speak through our soul, pushing past our ego, and keep our spirits full of generosity and compassion. We develop our social interactions, doing our best to be noble and reach oneness with divine reality. Still, it happens that we stumble, and our mind creates illusions, wanders in the den of inequities, and searches externally for peace. As our brain is wired to cause and effect, just then, we look for anchor stories from the most excellent sage to rise above the stagnation.

Delving in the Book of Rumi, translated by Maryam Mafi, is a new collection of 105 Stories and Fables that Illuminate, delight, and information from the six-volume spiritual epic, The Masnavi. Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī, known as Rumi, was a 13th Century Iranian poet, juristIslamic scholartheologian, and Sufi mystic originally from Greater Khorasan. The book is an invariably transcendental gift that tames the ego, explores understanding, heals the brokenhearted, gives hope, and inspires unity and unconditional love.

Maryam Mafi, an Iranian author, translator, and expert on Rumi, dazzles with didactic and entertaining well-known stories of Rumi that capture his mystic wisdom. She has skillfully preserved the exciting and dramatic integrity of Masnavi, which, still in the 21st century, resonates with our personal experiences and evokes courage to reach agape love. Maryam Mafi, a graduate of Tufts, American and Georgetown Universities, is tirelessly on the mission to acquaint the west with Eastern literature.

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Interview with Maryam Mafi

Jupilings: What attracted you to Rumi, to begin with-

MM: I came across a book on Rumi by an English scholar called, The Way of Passion; and I was set on fire! I felt as if all my questions about spirituality and life, in general, were finally explained to me in the simplest, most eloquent manner.

Jupilings: Rumi’s masterwork “Masnavi”, how does it impact our modern lives-

MM: The Masnavi is often referred to as the Persian Quran. We can learn unrivalled guidance from Rumi in his Masnavi, ageless insights into how to live our lives more honestly and with integrity, even in these times of extreme conflict and mistrust.

Jupilings: What was the biggest challenge when translating “Masnavi”-

MM: Comprehending the original Sufi concepts.

Jupilings: What does Rumi celebrate

MM: Beyond all- Love.

Jupilings: What are Rumi’s views on women-

MM: He has great respect for women and considers them no less than men.

Jupilings: What does spirituality mean to you

MM: Love.

Jupilings: Please walk us through the process of literary translation, (how do you choose a book,…)- 

MM: Well, I’ve been translating Rumi for the past 20 years so I can tell you about how I choose a poem or a story. Generally, I pick the pieces instinctively, or they’re all-time favourites; like the stories in my latest book, “The Book of Rumi”, which I’ve translated into prose and will be available on Amazon in December. If I need to organise the works under various headings or chapters, I sort them out afterwards not before I translate them. Other translators probably do it the other way round; the rational way! I go with my heart!

Jupilings: Three tips to work with publishers-

MM: I feel blessed that so far my publishers have always come to me. I used to work for a publisher when I finished university so I’m familiar with the other side of the spectrum and it can be quite daunting for writers. You could begin by writing to every single publisher who publishes books like the one you have written and hope one of them replies. It’s a similar process for finding a job. These days though, self-publishing is very popular and often great books are picked from amongst them and published later by publishing companies.

Jupilings: Do you have a daily ritual when you are working on a book-

MM: Yes, I start work first thing in the morning; often after a yoga and meditation practice. I don’t like to break my day, so I work straight through often missing lunch. I might go for a long walk if I feel stuck or just to get some movement in my body. I don’t work late at night anymore because my eyes get too tired from the screen.

Jupilings: Tips on personal branding as a literary translator-

MM: I’m the worst person to answer this question, I only work on material I like and have been dedicated to translating my spiritual master, Rumi; and hopefully other Sufi masters in the future. So I wouldn’t call that commercially branding myself successfully!

Jupilings: What does women empowerment mean to you- 

MM:  Trusting our instincts and our intellects; but above all, trusting our hearts.

Jupilings: What do you do to conquer fear or self-doubt:

MM: I think fear and self-doubt are two playful little monkeys who love to play with our egos because they’re cut from the same cloth. As long as we know who they are and what they represent we can negotiate with them. I like to think that they’ll eventually leave us alone at one point in our lives and find better entertainment.

Jupilings: What is your life motto-

MM:  I like to say: ‘This too shall pass,’ and adhere to it every time I come across a difficulty. However, I think it’s more complicated than that. I tend to think the old fashion way, that we have a moral obligation to do our absolute best physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually, to help another human being, in whatever capacity, when we are in a position to do so.
Also, I do sincerely believe that when you do good, eventually at some point good shall be done to you. The cliché of what goes around comes around may sound simple, but it’s one of the most valuable basic truths of life.

Maryam Mafi’s collection of Rumi translations are available on Amazon