Writer's Note: This is one of a series of 10 articles on the Clifton Youth StrengthsExplorer themes. For more info on StrengthsExplorer, click here.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt, former United States First Lady
Students with Future Thinker in their Top 3 Strengths Explorer results love to think and dream about the future. They think about the endless possibilities that the world holds, which excites them and spurs them on to greater heights. Like eagles soaring high up in the sky, those with the Future Thinker StrengthsExplorer theme enjoy having an aerial view of the world and identifying targets from a higher vantage point.
Having a world full of possibilities that are open to them excites the Future Thinker. They like to dream about the life that they’ll have, the new things that will be invented, and the things that they will be able to do in future that they are not able to do right now. It is very likely for a student with Future Thinker to have visions of the future that are much bigger compared to those of his or her classmates because thinking big is one of his or her talents. Connecting present events to the future is important to them. While they are sometimes labeled as “daydreamers” and “more talk than action,” particularly if their Future Thinker Strengths Explorer theme is in its infancy stage, the genius of the Future Thinker talent is in being able to paint pictures of what the future holds, which inspires themselves and others to work towards that vision.
While the Confidence StrengthsExplorer theme is most likely to say, “I know I have what it takes to carve out my own future,” the Future Thinker talent theme is most likely to say, “I can see all the amazing possibilities the future holds.” And while the Discoverer StrengthsExplorer theme is most likely to dig deeper and ask, “why is this the case? How did that result come about?” the Future Thinker StrengthsExplorer theme is most likely to build broader and ask, “how does this affect the future? How does this piece fit into the bigger picture?”
What does the Future Thinker talent theme look like?“I find myself constantly daydreaming about possibilities: what I want to do when I’m older, what kind of place I’d like to live in, what kind of car I want to own, and so on. If I see somebody in a cool job, I immediately think, “hey, that might be something I could do in future.” I also love being able to do something new and exciting, or do old things in a new way. That’s why I want to be an entrepreneur in the future: I want to break molds and do something no one has ever done before. I want to forge my own path rather than just going the normal route and doing what everybody else is doing. My mind is always occupied with pictures of what the future could be like. These pictures excite me and motivate me to do better and better.” – R. T.
As a teacher, how do I develop a student with Future Thinker?
- Start conversations with Future Thinkers about their dreams and visions of the future. You can ask simple questions like, “What do you think you’ll be doing next year? What do you think you might like to do once you graduate?” Affirm them for their forward thinking, and help them develop a process to explore more of these possible futures and think through the implications.
- Share your own thoughts, ideas, and dreams about what you think the future might hold. This sharing sparks thought and communicates the idea that the future is worthy of consideration and conversation.
- As the student shares about the possible futures, consider the steps that must be taken toward these dreams. Help this student develop a plan to work towards his or her dreams, and suggest steps that he or she could take, such as people to meet, extracurricular activities to try, and opportunities to explore.
As a student with Future Thinker, how do I grow it to maturity?
- Set aside time to dream, think, and explore ideas that you like. Are there books, stories, or perhaps movies that give you ideas of what the future could be like? Find something to read or explore each week that helps you find out more about the years to come. The clearer the picture you have in your head, the more you’ll be inspired to move towards this, and the more you’ll be able to inspire others around you as well.
- Think about role models who inspire you or situations that you’d like to be in someday. What are some things that your role models do that you admire most about them? If you were in their shoes managing some of the situations that they encounter, how would you do things? Play out conversations and actions in your mind. This will boost your confidence and help you do a better job in future.
- Consider what skills or knowledge you need to pick up to prepare for the future. How will your life be different 10, 20, or 30 years down the road? Asking good questions are ways to explore the future. What would you like to learn more about? Every day, find one good question to ask yourself or another person that helps you prepare for the future you dream of.
Concluding Thoughts: The world is full of endless possibilities, and those with the Future Thinker StrengthsExplorer theme know this very well. When combined with practical action steps toward these dreams and a substantial understanding of what these futures entail, the Future Thinker talent theme can be an incredible source of drive and inspiration for both the student and those around them.
Written by Tan Meiling
As a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, Meiling is passionate about helping people discover their innate potential and celebrating who they are. She enjoys reading, learning, and sharing her knowledge through writing articles. Meiling is also actively giving StrengthsFinder coaching to individuals and facilitating workshops in Singapore.