Growing the Strengths Explorer Theme of Discoverer

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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.

"Discovery consists not in seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes." - Marcel Proust, French Novelist

Students with Discoverer in their Top 3 Strengths Explorer themes are naturally curious, and their minds are constantly abuzz with questions of "how" and "why." They are excited about exploring ideas and making connections, and often spend a lot of time doing so. Just as owls are touted as symbols of wisdom and have been gifted with the vision and prowess to be able to hunt in darkness, those with the Discoverer StrengthsExplorer theme are unafraid of what lies in the murky, unexplored waters of knowledge, and instead view it as a challenge to be able to venture into the unknown.

To a student with the Discoverer StrengthsExplorer theme, it is fun to be an expert, and they are naturally inclined to find out more about the topics that interest them. In fact, this process of pulling ideas and concepts apart to figure everything out energizes them -- and it energizes them even more when they stumble upon something no one else around them has uncovered. While this curiosity can seem unfocused and tangential at times, particularly if the Discoverer StrengthsExplorer theme is in its infancy, at its maturity the Discoverer's natural inquisitiveness and keen intellect bring a depth of thought to discussions that enriches the entire group.

While the Presence StrengthsExplorer theme is likely to say, "I’ll help the group by communicating powerfully," the Discoverer StrengthsExplorer theme is likely to say, "I’ll help the group by thinking deeply." Also, in friendship, the Discoverer theme and the Relating theme can sometimes look similar: both want to know more about the other person and go deeper. However, the Discoverer theme's motivation lies in the idea, "I show my care for my friends by learning more about them and understanding how they think," while the Relating theme's motivation is in the idea, "I show my care for my friends by listening to them and protecting the connection."

What does the Discoverer talent theme look like?

"I usually can't take statements at face value. If I'm learning about a new concept, my first thought is, "why is this the case? How does this work?" and sometimes "can it be done differently?" I am always full of questions, and I feel most energized when my digging uncovers a little nugget of wisdom that no one else has found. This sometimes drives my friends nuts because I never seem satisfied with the answers I get from them, but they know by now that I need to think through things deeply. Also, they've benefited from these little nuggets of wisdom on more than one occasion, so they've grown to appreciate my Discoverer strength!" - C. M.

As a teacher, how do I develop a student with Discoverer?

  1. Observe the ways in which the student learns best. Students with the Discoverer theme are naturally inquisitive, but the practical skills of experimentation, research, and inquiry may not be developed yet. Help the student refine these techniques for learning so that the student can go even deeper into the topics he or she enjoys.

  2. Show interest in the topics the student enjoys learning about, and use the information to keep the student asking "how? and "why?" This communicates affirmation and approval, and the new ideas and questions introduced will often energize the student. Also, help the student identify patterns or common characteristics to the topics that he or she enjoys learning about. Particularly with younger students with the Discoverer talent theme, interest in topics may be intense but short-lived, as they are still exploring the various niches in the process of choosing their specific focus.

  3. Suggest channels the Discoverer's natural inquisitiveness could be aimed in. For instance, many schools conduct science fairs where the students' hard work can be put on display and the students receive recognition for their endeavors. Are there such fairs in your school? Alternatively, consider putting up "project walls" where brilliant examples of academic inquiry can be showcased.

As a student with Discoverer, how do I grow it to maturity?

  1. Identify the topics you'd like to learn more about, and challenge yourself to become an expert in them. Are there any credible resources on the topic that you could explore in greater depth? Is there anybody you could talk to with expertise in those particular areas? You might also enjoy signing up for school clubs or organizations that would enable you to learn more about those areas, or perhaps starting a website to share your findings.

  2. Make friends with others who share the same interests as you. Discussing your ideas with them can help to spark new, exciting trains of thought and refine existing ones. These discussions will energize you and stir up your curiosity to learn more.

  3. During class discussions and projects, take greater ownership of your learning by doing research and getting as much information as you can to complete the tasks. While others may jump in without thinking and then find themselves going off on an unplanned tangent, you can be the voice of reason in the group, bringing quality and depth of thought to the discussions and assignments.

Concluding Thoughts: Because of their natural inquisitiveness, those with the Discoverer StrengthsExplorer theme have a powerful ability to break down complex ideas into simple ones and unpack existing concepts to discover fresh new insights. When this curiosity is honed and equipped with the practical skills of research and effective communication, students with the Discoverer theme bring much intellectual depth and quality of thought to their team.

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Written by Tan Meiling

Responsibility • Learner • Relator • Belief • Harmony

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.


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