StrengthsFinder Theme #2: Input

People who are especially talented in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information.

Hmm… Collect and archive information, huh?  Kind of like someone might do in a blog?  🙂

I’m not going to post anything from the more generic description in the StrengthsFinder 2.0 book, because nothing there really jumped out at me.  However, the Personalized Strengths Insights strike me as pretty darn accurate to my interests, so I’m going to take that part piece by piece and comment on how this particular strength theme comes through in my life.  So here goes…

Driven by your talents, you yearn to increase your knowledge by being kept in the information loop. This explains why you gravitate to people who converse about ideas at a deeper and more thoughtful level than most individuals are capable of doing. “Making small talk” — that is, engaging in idle conversation — probably seems like a waste of time to you.

OK, I don’t hate small talk – but I would rather spend my time in a longer, deeper conversation with a few close friends than mingle at a party where the conversations stay at surface level.

By nature, you are comfortable offering suggestions to people who regularly seek your counsel — that is, recommendations about a decision or course of action they are considering. These individuals usually feel deep affection for you. You are likely to spend time together socializing as well as working or studying.

Um, YES.  Marcus Buckingham’s Strong Life Test labelled me as an “Advisor,” and this is just looks like another way of describing those tendencies.  I love it when my friends or my students come to me for advice, and I highly value my close friendships.

Reepicheep 2007

Notice the pile of books on the chair behind me. Oh yeah.

Because of your strengths, you enjoy reading as long as you can savor each sentence and consider each idea. Your goal is to comprehend everything you read. It makes no sense to you to rush through books, magazine or newspaper articles, internet sites, or other forms of written material just to say you finished them.

I’ve always been an English nerd, so for me this usually means classic literature.  I’ll go on kicks when I’m fascinated by different genres and authors.  Right now it’s dystopian literature (I just finished Brave New World by Aldous Huxley), but I’ve also been through phases of being obsessed by Shakespeare, classic fantasy, stream-of-consciousness (though that didn’t last long), Gothic fiction, and young adult literature.  In fact, before I decided that I want to study school counseling, I always assumed that if I got a Master’s Degree, it would be in fantasy literature.

It’s very likely that you favor conversations where information, facts, or data are considered objectively — that is, emotions do not distort the truth. You pose questions, evaluate answers, and figure out how things work. Reducing an idea, theory, or process to its most basic parts provides you with many insights…

Again, YES.  My college friends nicknamed me “The Logic” because I really try to not let emotions distort facts of a conflict or discussion.  Professionally, I tend to focus on practical realities when it comes to teaching.  What will policies, theories, and pedagogues actually look like when put into practice in my classroom?  Because we can debate the hypotheticals until we’re blue in the face, but I want to know what will actually help my teens become better people.

… Instinctively, you may like the companionship of adults more than the company of small children. Perhaps this is because you tend to use sophisticated words children probably won’t understand.  Maybe talking with or writing to adults who seem to grasp the meaning of certain messages brings you some degree of satisfaction.

This is why I prefer teaching high school.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m not bad with little kids, and I did enjoy the 5th-6th grade Language Arts class I taught last year.  But I do feel more at ease teaching 8th grade or higher, and my favorite range is 10th-11th graders.  They’re capable of complex thinking and deep discussions.  They get sarcasm.  They’re just beginning to discover what kind of adults they are going to become.  It’s so much fun!

In closing, I think right now my Input theme is really what’s driving my career.   It’s why I started this blog, as a place to collect my ideas and reflect on my research.  I’m doing all this because I want to, not because someone assigned it to me.  Input is why I take notes when I sub, gathering ideas from classrooms and lesson plans and collecting anecdotes of fun student stories.  Input is why I want to pursue my Master’s Degree in school counseling, which feeds back into the Maximizer theme and my desire to help teens reach their absolute highest potential.  I’m still not sure how that’s going to play out professionally, because there are certain elements of school counseling that don’t appeal to me (being stuck in an office instead teaching in a classroom, for one), but I really want that knowledge – from how to help a teen struggling with depression to training in college admissions and career counseling.   I’m certain that I need that kind of knowledge to take my ideas to the next level, though I don’t know exactly what that level is.  I want to know so much more.  It’s like I have the pieces to a puzzle and I haven’t figured out how they go together yet, or if I even have all the pieces yet.    But I can’t rush it.  I need to process the information I have as it comes.  Right now, that means reading and blogging, and once we stop moving so much I can look into doing more.

One thought on “StrengthsFinder Theme #2: Input

  1. Pingback: StrengthsFinder Closing Thoughts | Avoiding Neverland

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