How People With Context See It


What Is the CONTEXT Theme 

Those with Context are the people in our lives who instinctively look to the past to understand the present.  For them, the here and now is simply and concretely the product of what has come before it.  In that way, the more information they have about what has been, the more deeply they can appreciate, know, and recognize the present.  Looking back is also how they plan for the future.  They believe that what we do in each moment is important because it will soon be the past we are looking back on.  So, “What happened last time?” can be a sacred question for them.  An awareness of the past allows them to honor it, learn from it, and avoid pitfalls.  The clearer their understanding of what the “before” was like, the more stable their present moment is.  And, consequently, the more confident they will feel about moving ahead.  The past, it seems, is perpetually creating the future—and, the now is simply how we get there.  People with Context remind us of this big idea: History repeats itself, generally.  So, if we want to create positive change—or if we, at least, want to avoid repeating mistakes—we must do so intentionally by being conscious of the past.  They remind us that everything we do causes a ripple in time and that every moment matters.

Why Should We Care

In times of chaos, discord, and dysfunction, and when things go off-course, people with Context provide stability and calm.  Their minds naturally return to the preliminary plan, the original vision, and focus on the initial intent.  This can be liberating and inspiring because, in times of confusion, they remind us why we started in the first place.  It is natural for them to see the underlying structure of the world and to remember how things were.  When verbalized, this looks a lot like teaching and can help others see and make sense of the world.  Their strength is one of history rather than theory.  This means that they generally know, with certainty, what has and has not worked; and if they don’t know, they are willing to do the work to find out.  In this way, they are people who build firm foundations.  More often than not, they have reputations for being reliable, straight-forward, and competent.  They also have good memories—for them, there is rarely a need to reinvent the wheel or to try a new approach “just because”—if something worked the last time, they are prone to stick with it.  Overall, people with Context are particularly good at keeping situations level and grounded.  They shed light on present progress by illuminating the ground we’ve already covered.  They unite us by bringing us back to our core, our roots. 

Ten Things to Know About People with CONTEX

1.  History.  They love the past.  Instead of feeling help captive, they feel liberated by it.  For them, history is a giant gift—it makes everything easier—because it makes the world a more manageable size.  We need not try and fail ourselves if someone else has already proven that there is a better way.

2.  Preambles.  Folks with Context often give the backstory before saying what they want to say.  It is important for them to feel like others know where they are coming from and why.

3.  Strategy.  They are people with clear intentions who prefer to know the plan in advance.  Even if it changes along the way, they really like to know what the original blueprint, design, or gameplan was

4.  Cherry Picking.  While they can seem overly cautious at times, their perspectives are largely positive.  They want to make the present more fully alive and relevant by evoking the past.  In a way, their plans are built around only the best of the past and their actions are founded in a knowledge of and appreciation for what works. 

5.  Accepting.  People with Context have a knack for understanding where people are coming from.  They can quickly connect the dots to determine why a person might be acting or interacting in a certain way.  For this reason, they can remain authentically objective, even during intense exchanges, and they don’t generally take things personally.

6.  Patterns.  They are incredibly good at identifying patterns accurately.  It isn’t likely that they will spend time trying to find what isn’t there.

7.  Proof.  They are particularly fond of empirical evidence and concrete proof.  It is easier for them to form the basis of their worldview around things that are solid, tangible, and repeatable.  The “scientific method” is of particular relevance to them.  

8.  Unease.  Being self-aware, they will make every effort to lead with intention and to act with purpose.  For them, it is important to always know what they are doing and why they are doing it.  Without that clarity they can feel very uncomfortable, even anxious.  Lack of direction can easily fill them with existential dread.

9.  Change.  Even though they admire the past, they are not stuck in it.  In fact, they can be enthusiastic early adopters of innovation because their radars are sharp and can identify upcoming trends and anticipate needs based on similar cycles of change in the past.

10.  Love.  Because they naturally look back, they feel strongly connected to others with whom they can reminisce.  Conversations in which they relive joyful, passionate, or exciting moments can feel deeply nourishing to them.  They enjoy the process of creating meaningful memories.

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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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