Success in Failure

My newest struggle with My Container started this week with the change in weather. Suddenly, my perfect wardrobe was no longer perfect. That brought out the internal struggle of my commitment to the project. Should I adhere absolutely to the rules? Should I change out what is no longer working? Would it be right to simply give up the project as unworkable?

I was looking for the answers to these questions when I ran into this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine Education Issue with the lead article What if the Secret to Success Is Failure? This is the story of how two New York City schools are forging new frontiers in character education by incorporating information from Peterson and Seligman’s Character Strengths and Virtues.

With the authors’ help, the principals of the schools settled on a list of six strengths that were especially likely to predict life satisfaction and high achievement: zest, grit, self-control, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism and curiosity and worked to incorporate them into every teaching strata of their schools. Interesting article on great work in education.

In the book for psychology professionals, Peterson and Seligman pioneer a method to classify and evaluate twenty-four indispensable character strengths and virtues that lead to a higher quality of life. It is an impressive list to guide me to the next right place in my project.

Here are all twenty-four:
Zest: approaching life with excitement and energy; feeling alive and activated.
Grit: completing something despite obstacles with persistence and resilience.
Self-control: regulating what one feels and does; being self-disciplined.
Social intelligence: being aware of motives and feelings of other people and oneself.
Gratitude: being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen.
Love: valuing close relationships with others; being close to people.
Hope: expecting the best in the future and working to achieve it.
Humor: liking to laugh and tease; bringing smiles to other people; seeing a light side.
Creativity: coming up with new and productive ways to think about and do things.
Curiosity: interest in experience for its own sake; finding things fascinating.
Open-mindedness: examining things from all sides and not jumping to conclusions.
Love of learning: mastering new skills and topics on one’s own or in school.
Wisdom: being able to provide good advice to others.
Bravery: not running from threat, challenge, or pain; speaking up for what’s right.
Integrity: speaking the truth and presenting oneself sincerely and genuinely.
Kindness: doing good deeds for others; helping them; taking care of them.
Citizenship: working well as a member of a group or team; being loyal to the group.
Fairness: treating all people the same; giving everyone a fair chance.
Leadership: encouraging a group of which one is a valued member to accomplish.
Forgiveness: forgiving those who’ve done wrong; accepting people’s shortcomings.
Modesty: letting one’s victories speak for themselves; not seeking the spotlights.
Prudence/Discretion: being careful about one’s choices; not taking undue risks.
Appreciation of Beauty: noticing and appreciating all kinds of beauty and excellence.
Spirituality: having beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe.

Published by SilkQuilt

Pittsburgh-based fiber artist, Louise Silk, creates art that combines aesthetics and functionality with meaning and memories. From the influence of a 1972 MS Magazine article to the current SILKDENIM label, her quilt experiences culminate in a display of her particular capacity to use her patchwork skills to piece together just about anything into an aesthetic meaningful whole.

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