Gratitude and Hope

Mark Williamson of Action For Happiness shares his strengths

To launch our new set of 24 Character Strength pencils, #drawonyourstrengths is a campaign to help you find and cultivate your best qualities. We've invited some of our favourite thinkers, writers, artists and entrepreneurs to share their strengths with us.

Mark Williamson is the director of Action for Happiness, a movement of people committed to building wellbeing. He is passionate about creating a more balanced, collaborative society that focuses less on consumption and material wealth and more on helping people and communities thrive.

Find your strengths and focus on using them is one of Action For Happiness' 12 recommended actions. We were delighted to speak to Mark about his own:

What were your top strengths?

Gratitude, Hope, Perseverance and Love.

Were any of those particularly surprising?

No not really - these have actually been surprisingly consistent when I've retaken the survey, years apart.

When do you draw on this strength most often - and with whom? (Don’t be shy!)

I use gratitude all the time - daily if possible - and often with my children. For example, just by asking them what's gone well today, and telling them about things I'm feeling grateful for.

Strengths are like muscles. The more you use them, the stronger they become. Is there a way you could use your top strength to help you build up your least-used strength?

I'm not particularly good at doing things spontaneously or choosing unfamiliar paths - so I could use Gratitude to help me recognise and appreciate new opportunities to do fun things, and to make a difference.

Simply naming a strength in someone can amplify it. Who could you reach out to right now and compliment on one of their strengths?

I would reach out to my Dad - who's been very ill in hospital recently - and compliment him on his Perseverance and Bravery in the face of a really scary and painful health situation. And I'd remind him how much we all love and appreciate him.

To discover your own strengths, you can take the VIA Survey here. We'd love to hear what you find - once you've completed the survey, share your top 5 strengths and tag us @storeforthemind. You'll be entered into our competition to win your very own set of Character Strengths Pencils, with a detailed guide to help you build on your strengths and use them daily.