The Facts About People With “Useless” Knowledge


What Is the INPUT Theme

These people are the magpies of the Strengths world.  They are collectors and curators and have many interests.  Folks with input have a generalized curiosity about virtually everything and they seem to enjoy the sort of thinking that allows them to be fascinated, even overwhelmed at times.  They love the vastness and intricacy of life, reality, and the world.  In that way, they are “Renaissance People” who naturally and reflexively gather objects into collections and mentally register information, memories, and ideas.  Not only do they want to see, feel, and experience it all, they also want to remember, share, and keep it all too.  What is possibly most important for them is finding a system, a way to archive, catalogue, index, or display what they have gathered.  There is an omnipresent sense of ‘just-in-case’ with them—they can envision a possible use or a possible reason for holding on to basically anything.  These are the people who have ornate filing systems, epic Pinterest pages, beautiful arrays of trinkets on bookshelves, and a virtual tickertape of conversation topics, interesting facts, jokes, stories, and, ideally, exciting memories of their own experiences.  They have the capacity to be deeply present listeners, too, picking up on the smallest details of what they hear, intuit, and observe.  More than anything else, their sense of scale is highly evolved—they may marvel at the vastness of space one moment and then the complexity of ants working together the next.  For them, it is all important; it is all worth their attention and, in most cases, their admiration as well.  And so, if it is worth that much, it is also worth saving and/or remembering.  They are collectors of things, finders of things, and keepers of things: micro and macro, real or intangible, near and far.  They keep us conscious of the infinite.

Why Should We Care

Those with the strength of input are innovative, openly complex, and resourceful people.  They have vast stores of information, references, and resources that they are hungry to share.  When it comes to working with them, they are walking/talking encyclopedias who help us push projects and visions into a larger context with bigger, broader, and more meaningful connections.  Their impulse is to want to relate one thing to another and to find a purpose, a use, or a home for all that they have gathered.  They are constantly being “reminded” of things, which is their gift.  For, they often reveal important links that turns chaos into order.  They have a skill that helps us see the interrelated nature of all things.  People with input also help us value the full spectrum, from the beauty of a grain of sand to the very spinning cosmos. They teach us how to be curious about the world.  They may even show us how to be in awe.

Ten Things to Know About People with INPUT

1. Juxtaposition. Folks with input are likely to make leaping connections between things.  While it may feel random or disjointed to others, for them there is a logic to it.  Don’t be afraid to ask them to connect the dots a little bit.

2. Completism. People with input are completists—they find a value in having all of something or experiencing the entire range of things.  If they like a certain musician, for example, it’s likely that they will try to own or listen to everything that the artist has produced.

3. Good Tastes. Because of their completist nature, they are great refiners of things and have good tastes—especially in the arts, music, film, literature, restaurants, and entertainment.  Because they’ve seen it all, we can reliably look to them for great recommendations.

4. Analogies. They are very associative people, prone to making sense of the world by exploring one thing’s relationship to another.  They may use a lot of analogies.

5. Finishing. They may have a hard time finishing things because they get off track very easily.  They may also have a difficult time ever feeling truly finished because of how they dwell in possibility, abundance, variety, and potential.

6. Netflix. People with input might take binging on shows to an awesome level.  The internet serves as a mixed blessing when it comes to their desire for “all-ness”.

7. Input Gone Wild. They can imagine a use or a future use for virtually anything, which can turn into a compulsion to save and store everything that they come into contact with.  Input gone wild is hording.

8. Heavy Topics. It may seem like they want to talk about everything all at once.  Don’t be surprised if they somehow take a conversation from the light and airy to the deep and philosophical.

9. Novelty. They have a deep reverence for what is new to them.  They rarely re-read or re-watch things, they may even hesitate to go to the same places twice because, for them, the world is so large and there is so much else that they haven’t seen.

10. Useless Information. They may refer to themselves at “troves of useless information”.  This playful self-deprecation can come from a lifetime of being dismissed.  People with input feel valued when they are given the opportunity to have stream-of-consciousness conversations.

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Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world.  He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach.  

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