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A YouTube video convinced me to pay $20 for an online Gallup test.

My results were:

They did make me feel good about myself. But then, this also made me think about the strenuous side-effect of these strenghts. For me, I realised, there are at least three.


By nature, you have a capacity for envisioning what the coming months, years, or decades could, should, or will be like. Frequently you are prompted to transform your ideas into things you can touch, taste, see, smell, or hear. Chances are good that you take advantage of every opportunity to describe to others all the amazing things you see happening in the coming months, years, or decades.

When I’m lost in thought, it’s almost always about the future. During formal practice, while labelling thoughts as they come and go, I hardly come across anything other than planning.

The moment an idea turns into a plan, I need to write it down. There are pieces of paper filled with notes all over my desk. This year I set up an organisation, a project, and a Kanban board for myself on GitHub to track blogging ideas. At the moment of writing, I managed to execute 4. I am working on 2 and have 21 sitting in the to do column.

If I don’t write thoughts down, I’m afraid of losing them, and very often I do. It’s almost like the moment a plan is ready, my mind is willing to throw it all away to make space for more planning.


Instinctively, you generate ideas quickly. You draw clever linkages between facts, events, people, problems, or solutions. You present others with numerous options at a pace some find dizzying.

Being unprepared and acting spontaneously is not my preference. But I don’t elude situations that require it. Instead, my mind prefabricates lots of possible scenarios, so it feels ready. I’m not sure I’m ever even afraid of showing up unprepared. Planning comes so effortlessly that I have had situations where I get less than an hour notice before delivering a public talk. By the time it starts, I have a clear idea of what I want to say and how to deliver the message.

Because so much planning works for me most of the time, I end up in a self-reinforcing loop. Even the most trivial situations, like a quick chat with anyone in the company, become things to plan for. Before I go to an event, I will have specific ideas for things to talk about to 10+ people. If it’s just one person I’m meeting, e.g. for a weekly one-to-one chat, it becomes easy to write down a list of 3+ things to talk about. Almost always they turn out good, and I’m glad of the little effort I have put into making the encounter worthwhile. But if it is a bigger event, with a lot of people, imagining it all in the back of my head adds up and becomes overwhelming.


Driven by your talents, you have an ability to imagine what visionaries believe is possible as you read about their innovative ideas and plans. The information you acquire generally frees you to make a mental leap from this moment in time to the future that these thinkers see.

This preoccupation I have with planning distorts the importance I assign to facts from the past. Telling me something does not stick in my head unless there’s a clear connection to the future - or my plans for the future, to be exact. And then when I forget what someone told me, I feel bad for not caring more about something important to that person. One strategy I developed is to immediately warn people that I’m not going to remember what I’m being told. I can kind of tell when it’s likely to happen, but it better not.

I imagine that  it can be somewhat disappointing when you have to deal with me at work. I ask the same questions more times than I can remember. Often, I even need to be reminded about the things I said.

On the flip side, I have no trouble remembering ideas I read about in books, especially those related to my plans for the future. And making these connections happens a lot. Thanks to that, I feel no need to highlight or write down passages I find valuable. The imprint in my memory is strong, even more so when I start referring to them in conversations.


There are flip sides to any strength and weaknesses carry something positive.

I have yet to grasp the side effects of strategic and intellection strengths. They seem to have a lot to do with how convincing I am. And how I can’t resist introducing abstractions when hearing about simple facts. If you start telling me about your day, I struggle to let you finish.

See: CliftonStrengths Assessments