What Futuristic People Can Teach Us About Living Here and NOW


What Is the FUTURISTIC Theme

Futuristic people are the ones in our lives who naturally dwell in what is possible—their focus is on what could be, not on what is or what has been.  In their eyes, the horizon is the most important feature of any landscape, both inner and outer.  For them, the future is a source of life as well as a positively grounding force.  That is, they make sense of the present—the current moment—based upon a vision of what is to come.  Because their perspective centers around possibilities, there is an inextinguishable optimism in their thinking.  A situation that feels bleak to others may feel rich with opportunity to Futuristic folks.  The future is limitless, undifferentiated potential; it is the spring from which the present moment is constantly flowing.  The very idea of it is energizing.  So, one of their favorite questions is, “What if?”  And, they don’t like to stop there, instead they like to figure out how to turn a vision into a reality.  It is nourishing for them to bring an idea into such clarity that others, too, can see and experience it.  They can be tireless in their innovation, knowing that the world will never be “complete” but it can always be added to and explored further.  Through them, we have access to our own and the world’s untapped powers.  They meet us where we are and then push us to identify what and where we all could be.

Why Should We Care

These are the people who can see that which is on the horizon with vivid clarity.  Their instinct is to direct their gaze down the line to see and anticipate what is next; they are very good at predicting things.  So, when it comes to being both excited and prepared about what is to come, these people show us the way.  They have a particular knack for seeing around corners—and they generally do so with optimism.  For them, it is a future of solutions, not problems.  They are great with build-from-scratch scenarios and are naturally entrepreneurial.  Their vision of the future is unique because it does not dismiss the here and now, instead it places it at one end of a spectrum.  That is, the present is a reference point and there can be no future without it—so, their questioning might look like this, “What can we do now to get to what is next?”  They teach us how to build bridges through time.

Ten Things to Know About People with FUTURISTIC

1. Action. While Futuristic is a visionary strength, it is also one of action.  It is not enough for them to just have the big idea, they also need to feel like they are moving toward it, creating it.

2. Staying Inspired. They may choose to share their big ideas with others, ultimately, because they want to move their vision into reality; and they know that by putting it out there they are creating outside accountability. This staves off procrastination and builds motivation.

3. The Past. The past is not super interesting to them and it is not likely to be a valuable, or valid, reference point in their thinking. Saying “Remember last time?” or “In the past this didn’t work” is not generally significant to them, it may even be annoying.

4. Persuasion. Because they can see what others cannot, Futuristic people are always developing their art of persuasion—of getting others to see what they see.  Sometimes they will go it alone on certain projects, just so that others have something concrete to look at and understand the initial vision.

5. Presence. Futuristic does not mean ‘head in the clouds’.  If anything, these people have a greater, more highly tuned impression of the present moment than the average person.  This is because they are naturally and continually taking the elements of the here and now into their calculations about what is to come.

6. Fear. Left unchecked, their thinking can go both ways.  These folks may find themselves with an elaborate and instantaneous ability to envision worst-case scenarios, too.  These thoughts can feel intrusive.

7. Collaboration. They naturally value others’ skills because they know that more can always be done together.  Finding others who can help take their ideas out of the ether and into the world is always on their radar.  For them, witnessing an idea materialize borders on euphoria.

8. Dismissed. As kids, many people with futuristic were dismissed for their inability to articulate and express the nature of their thoughts, ideas, and impressions.  As adults, they may be shy to open up initially, or hold back until they feel that trust has been established.

9. Claustrophobia. Futuristic people value spaciousness.  This means, one, not having their ideas shot down right away and, two, having time and space to play with ideas and envision them from all angles.  For them, not be constrained to “what is” is freedom.

10. Love. Because they love to dwell in possibility, the simple act of dreaming out loud with them can create a powerful sense of closeness.  Even asking them to “Say more” can feel like an “I love you.”


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Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

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.


What People With Connectedness Know That Others Do Not



People with Connectedness have a natural way of finding a deeper, richer meaning in life.  For them, there is an ornate complexity joining one thing to another—and all things to all other things—in vital but often invisible ways.  They notice things.  And, it is their instinct to form connections, joining one dot to the next.  Those with Connectedness find an effortless and intrinsic beauty in the constantly intertwining, elaborate patterns that make up our world and create our shared reality.  Being sensitive to the unceasing interplay of cause and effect, they have a specific vision—a way of experiencing and processing life—that assigns value and significance to exactly everything.  Great and small, everything is connected, everything plays a role, everything has a value.  Therefore, for them, things happen for reasons.  This simply means that nothing is random—that present realities are the result of past circumstances, and that future realities are the result of present actions.  In that way, we have a responsibility to one another; our actions ripple out in ways that affect the world near and far, now and in the future.  Connectedness is a way for them.  A way of seeing.  And, to be more direct, a way of being.  Seeing the intricate interconnectedness of all there is, or, in a lot of cases, simply being in awe of it all, is their zone.  For them, the world is alive and each and every angle of it is an interconnected piece of a living whole.  A single story that humanity is co-creating with the entire universe.

Why Should We Care

These people are aware, first and foremost.  They have a spectacular intuition and a particular talent for waking others up to the meaningful complexity of the world surrounding us all.  In that way, people with Connectedness are disruptors—individuals who seek to open others’ eyes.  And, they generally do this peacefully with an extremely high degree of compassion and understanding.  As they evolve, their capacity to see where others are coming from is without parallel.  They might be able to assess a moral, lesson, or teaching from even a brief interaction.  This allows them to “learn from everything” and they cannot help but to share that perspective with others.  What is imperceptible to most people is clear as day to them, which means that people with Connectedness make visible the invisible.  They remind us that what we do matters and that, in the end, we, ourselves matter.

Ten Things to Know About People with CONNECTEDNESS

1. Healing. People with Connectedness are natural healers—they heal with their voices, with their perspectives, and often times with their work. They often seek to serve the greater good because they see the big picture so clearly.

2. Misunderstood. Connectedness has been described as one of the most difficult perspectives to explain and articulate. Many people with this strength grow up feeling unvalidated, misunderstood, and alone.

3. Patience. Their intuition often exceeds their vocabulary, so what feels obvious to them might seem totally random to someone else.  This requires patience on both sides—as, their inability to clearly express what they are noticing does not necessarily mean that they are wrong or off about it.

4. Reading Into Things. They generally dislike being told that they’re “reading into things”.

5. Signs. They might see a certain number everywhere or notice particular songs on the radio, and treat it like a guide.  They are wired to notice signs and, because of that, they are generally not afraid to follow their nose, trust their gut, or act on their inner-knowing.

6. Emotions. They might not feel sadness, joy, or any other emotion when others do; however, they might feel something powerfully at a time when others do not.  They may have a unique perspective around topics like death, the meaning of life, and spirituality.

7. Novelty Seeking. They are very much at home in states of wonder and astonishment, so don’t be surprised if you find them constantly hungering to explore the inner-world or the inner-workings of the cosmos.  Being peacefully flabbergasted may very well be a daily pursuit for them.

8. Conspiracy Theories. The nature of conspiracy theories can be a major comfort for them—an interconnected webwork of people, places, things, and timelines.  It is not uncommon for them to spend time looking into various shadowy or fringe topics.  It may even be relaxing.

9. Eccentric. They might come across as a little weird at times, as they are prone to bringing an almost otherworldly perspective to virtually every conversation. Or, they might want to illuminate a given chain of events that they noticed, like, “If I hadn’t stopped to tie my shoe, then I wouldn’t have seen the dog walk by with the collar that reminded me of this time in Italy when I met this woman who wore the same perfume as my friend who just so happened to be calling me AT THAT SAME MOMENT.  Can you believe it!?!  What does it mean?!?”

10. Unconditional Love. Many people with Connectedness have developed capacities to love unconditionally that well exceed the norm.  They have a deep capacity to accept others fully and completely.

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Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

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.

What Analytical People Reveal About Us


What Is the ANALYTICAL Theme

People with the Analytical theme love data, research, and rational, linear lines of thinking.  For them, there is an intrinsic value in the explanation of a concept, the proof.  It is their instinct to ask “Why?” and “How do you know?” and “How did we get here?”.  Even if something seems true or obvious, they still like to know why.  And, if there are facts, stats, and figures available—even better.  They like to know the details, the whys and the hows, and the tangibles before they accept an idea, a claim, or a position on an issue.  They are not afraid to poke at another’s thinking, testing its validity and overall soundness.  Nor are they afraid to change their own mind if better evidence surfaces for a different viewpoint.  For them, it isn’t rude to challenge someone else’s thinking because they are constantly challenging their own thinking.  They pride themselves on their objectivity and their ability to remain detached and calm, even in highly charged situations.  Theories don’t impress them much either.  They feel most alive in their thinking when they can be rigorous and unrestrained in their questioning, fact-checking, and research.  Their desire for objectivity reveals truths sometimes hidden under layers at the core of our world and our lives.

Why Should We Care

These are the people who are naturally wired to seek answers.  They prove/disprove and then explain.  And, they do this by asking questions, gathering facts, and doing research.  We can count on them to be able to back-up what they are talking about—and they expect the same from others.  The latter can draw out the best in us, by encouraging rigor and excellence.  People with the Analytical theme are adept at finding patterns as well as the underlying structures of a problem, thought, or situation.  They are happy to dig in deep and find out what is or is not working in an idea, scenario, or organization.  Sorting through and synthesizing huge quantities of information, data, and research may be energizing for them.  It sets and resets their compass points.  From there—from a place of objective clarity—they skillfully structure their ideas, layer them, and formulate bulletproof conclusions.

Ten Things to Know About People with ANALYTICAL

1. Trust. At their core, what they bring is straightforwardness. Their worldview is, in a sense, provable; it is backed by facts and careful research.  While it can be irksome to some, we can, in the end, trust them—really truly trust them.

2. Tact. Finding the right words and the appropriate tone is the ongoing work of Analytical folks who, when seeking clarity, can be perceived as unnecessarily critical, dismissive, or rigid.

3. Outcomes. What they rely on to create their world is that which is provable, and that which can be shared.  It may not be enough for them to simply reach a given outcome, they may need to know specifically why the conclusion was such.

4. Emotion. For someone who is highly Analytical, emotion isn’t necessarily viewed as a virtue. The feelings of others as well as their own feelings may, in fact, seem inconvenient, baffling, or slightly problematic for them.

5. Patterns. They have a knack for patterns and they have a generalized fondness for that which can be repeated, reproduced, and replicated.  Things with distinct, identifiable beginnings, middles, and ends have a solid resonance with them.

6. Spock. They love logic.  Don’t be surprised if an Analytical person verbally identifies as being “logical”.  It can be a comfort for them to state it explicitly so that others know.

7. Intuition. Analytical folks can have the tendency to dismiss that which cannot be quantified—like dreams, the visions of others, and fringe ideas.  Their intuition, however, is intact.  It manifests as their instinct to test and challenge the world.

8. Answers. They generally dislike feelings of limbo.  It’s particularly important for them to determine where they stand on an issue and why.  They may go to great lengths researching a topic to avoid feeling or appearing wishy-washy.

9. Grey. For some, their thinking can appear a bit black and white.  That is, things are either all one way or all another.  When this is clearly the case, it’s okay to ask them why they think or feel that way.  Many folks with Analytical actually enjoy being asked to support their ideas and explain them to others.

10. They may show love and support in nuanced ways.  For example, they may feel like they’re doing someone a favor by challenging their idea or thinking because it will lead to a stronger, more solid argument.  They are also big on acts of service as a way of showing love—something that produces a result.

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Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

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.

What Actually Makes Developers Tick


What Is the DEVELOPER Theme

Developers are the people in our lives who are always pushing us to grow, expand, and never give up.  More than simple encouragers, they see in us what we cannot see in ourselves.  And, helping others succeed is their focus.  When they have a vision for someone they are not the type to easily give up on them.  They are mentally sharp, compassionate, and enthusiastically aware individuals.  Meeting another person where they are at comes very naturally to them, and their instinct is to push them to greater heights.  In fact, they are wired to see only the potential in others and situations—it is absolute and unshakable.  The present moment is important, yes, but it isn’t everything for them; for Developers, the here-and-now is more like a starting-point, a launchpad.  They dwell in what is possible and are energized by the prospect of getting people to the next level.  They see potential everywhere they go and they have an evolved intuition for identifying next-steps.  For them, personal development is about taking action, it is a process of A to B, B to C, C to D, etc. and, in their eyes, each person is simultaneously a work-in-progress and a masterpiece.

Why Should We Care

Developers don’t simply notice the potential in others, they actually seek it out, look for it everywhere, and, in some ways, need it.  They recognize hidden talents in others and can easily identify where someone is holding back in life.  And, it’s not cheerleading—instead it’s about finding constructive ways of challenging others.  They have a precise sense of what will encourage a person to grow and what will not; there are not one-size fits all solutions for them.  They intuitively understand when and where to push someone into excellence.  The way an artist can identify minute gradations of color, Developers can recognize the slightest signs of growth in others.  It is their gift.  They are skilled at identifying options for moving upward and making game plans.  In that way, they can be very practical, efficient, and deliver results.  They might ask questions like, “What is one small thing you can do today to make tomorrow better?” and “What’s the first step to getting where you are going?”  They remind us that the little things are the big things.

Ten Things to Know About People with DEVELOPER

1. Shoemaker’s Children. While Developers can find endless potential in others and encourage them to grow, they may have a hard time seeing it in themselves and/or taking action in their own lives.  They are born givers who may have a hard time receiving.

2. Intuition. Their work is largely (and beautifully) intuitive; while a Developer might say that they “see” potential in others, what they are really doing is sensing and feeling it.

3. Magnetic.  Because they look for the good and have an outward focus on helping others, they generally give off a really good vibe, and people are drawn to them naturally.

4. Buzzwords. Developers are natural coaches—people who encourage and strategize—so common words in their vocabulary include: next-steps, plan, vision, solution, growth, potential, progress, success, baby-steps, and achievement.  Also, if they say, “I believe in you.”  They mean it.

5. Creative. Their approach is often action-oriented, so it is easy to overlook just how creative their ideas truly are.  There is a type of spontaneous outpouring that occurs when they are inspired and their solutions are often subtle, yet ingenious.

6. Patience. Some people simply are not ready or willing to change and grow.  This attitude can be almost offensive to a Developer.  There is no place in their brain to receive an idea like this, so they are likely to be baffled by people who refuse help and stay stuck.

7. Humanness. Developers are generally happy to share their own journey and personal perspective as a way of connecting with and inspiring others.  Identifying points of personal development in others is truly lifegiving for them—it gives them an opportunity to reflect on their own experiences and seems to positively ground them in their purpose.

8. Endless Enthusiasm for Growth. Like the Interstate system, the work of the Developer is never done.  And, for them, that is a good thing—like, how cool is it that we live in a universe where can be forever improving?

9. Greater Meaning. When we are in our darkest hour, Developers stand firm and hold that space with us—they help us see a way out of our suffering.  And, even if we are not ready to hear it, they have a tendency to look for the greater meaning in experiences.

10. Love. Developers can get burnt out.  They may even have a pattern of running themselves into the ground.  So, a great way to show them love is to help them develop their OWN self and to encourage them to take their own wonderful medicine from time to time.

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Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

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.

What It Means to Be a Relator


What Is the RELATOR Theme

Relators are the people in our lives who love to go deep with their relationships.  Forming superficial or temporary bonds with others just doesn’t do it for them.  What they seek is authentic connection—an opening between two people where trust can build over time and where real human-to-human understanding can occur.  Instead of having a hundred friends, Relators might have ten—but they are heavily invested and place a high value on each and every one of them.  Each relationship in their life has been purposefully cultivated.  Relators might have a small circle, but they would do anything for the people in it.  Think of a tree with roots that grow down instead of out.  A relator has a sense that truly connecting with another human being is not only rare, but sacred.  And, because of this, they know that it also requires work, energy, and time to really dive in with someone.  So, their tendency is to keep their crew small—for them, this feels like quality over quantity.  Relators are the ones who turn the ringer off on their phone when they come over.  They find immense pleasure in the feelings of deep connection, closeness, and presence.  So, they are happy to give others their full attention when spending time together.  For some, this level of intimacy can feel extravagant, even a little overwhelming—and, yet, it is welcomed.  Where some relationships make us feel invisible, Relators make us feel accepted, cared for, and loved.

Why Should We Care

These people have a keen sensitivity when it comes to how their presence, words, and actions affect others—and vice versa.  They instinctively consider the human element in all that they do.  Relators are dynamically aware and they teach us how to ask for more from our connections with others.  Because they are sensitive to the nuances of a relationship, friendship, or connection, they reveal layers of ourselves that we may not have known were there.  They have a deeply accurate intuitive knowing of what it takes to build a relationship.  They just know.  And, within that, they have an incredible capacity for unconditional love, understanding, and acceptance.  Relators show us how to go the extra mile in our relationships and how to generate authentic interest and curiosity in others.  They provide us with a model of what a deep and connected relationship can be—one with risk, openness, and vulnerability—where we are truly understood, acknowledged, and seen.

Ten Things to Know About People with RELATOR

1. Everyone. Relators don’t really differentiate between people based on age, race, sexual identity, or creed.  It is more like “Is there potential for connection here or not?”

2. Introvert/Extrovert. Relators are happy to meet lots of people, they may even be the life of the party, but it just isn’t where the core-value and meaning are found for them in their relationships.  They recharge with a small circle of friends, not a crowd.

3. Presence. They value presence.  Period.  At the coffee shop, they are zoned-in on the conversation.  Over the phone they are listening carefully, not distracted.  Don’t be surprised if they get annoyed when you seem preoccupied.

4. Risk. Establishing meaningful connections with others is key for them, they may see it like a dance where one person risks a little and then the other risks a little.  They are generally not in an eager rush to share their life story.  Bit-by-bit, back and forth is how they prefer to build trust and confidence.

5. Boundaries. Some Relators are so approachable and personable that people—strangers, even—may open up to them in startling ways and over-share.  Setting boundaries is an art that Relators are usually perfecting.

6. Small Talk. Chit-chat isn’t particularly interesting to them.  They may even prefer an awkward silence to a surface-level conversation.  Remember, what they seek is a sense of an ever-deepening between themselves and other.

7. Gifts. Relators are notoriously amazing gift givers.  Fact.

8. Isolation. Being disconnected from their inner-circle for too long can be emotionally disorienting for them.  They may even feel like they are losing their mind.

9. Needs. The way that Relators experience connection is through intimacy.  Be it in person or over the phone, what they need in their relationships is closeness.  An occasional coffee date or text might not be enough for them.

10. Love. They have a profound capacity to love, they believe in others and in their connections.  When a relationship hits a rough patch, Relators are likely to hold the space and the light until harmony is achieved.

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Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

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.