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1 Qualities

A personal quality is difficult to explain. One way is to think about the words that you might use to describe someone. These could be words like ‘kind’ and ‘generous’ (which most of us would see as examples of positive qualities), or ‘deceitful’ and ‘untrustworthy’ (which most people would define as negative qualities).

Some qualities are easier to recognise than others. We might be proud of many of our qualities, but there may be others that we are not proud of and some that we are not really aware of. Many people are too critical of themselves; others a bit too uncritical. But, however you look at it, our qualities are important because they influence our ability learn and to achieve our goals.

Our qualities are shaped by our values; for example, being generous can be linked to an underlying value of the importance of sharing. In contrast, if someone appears to be miserly, they might place a higher value on saving money.

Our qualities are important to other people; they will play a part in shaping how others respond to us. And how other people respond has a big effect on how we all see ourselves.

Although this course encourages you to think positively, it is important to identify anything that might hold you back or get in the way of your learning and try to address it. Do you remember the example of Jim in Week 1? He was nervous about returning to study formally – but he overcame it enough to enrol for a class and start the course of his choice.

Activity 1 Identifying positive qualities

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes for this activity.
  • Make a list of all the positive personal qualities you can think of. Many of these are adjectives (words that describe something or someone) such as ‘kind’, ‘honest’ and ‘tolerant’. If you can, work on this activity with someone else. Ideas may be more likely to flow if you have someone else’s ideas to react to.
  • Once you have finished, go back over your list and underline the qualities you think that you have. (If you are not sure, put a question mark.)


Did you find quite a few? Or did you find it difficult to apply the qualities to yourself? If you struggled with this, then take another look at the first list you created – there probably are some qualities there that really do apply to you, even if just a little.

If you still can’t think of many qualities, you could always add persistence – because it’s clear that you don’t give up easily!