Input is a Strategic Thinking Strength that is all about gathering information and collecting resources. People with the Input Strength are constantly seeking new ideas or experiences, and they have a natural curiosity and desire to learn more. They are often well-read and have a wide range of interests and passions. Some collect facts and make great Jeopardy contenders, while others are savers and collectors of physical items that may come in handy at some point in the future. Many people with Input are both!
My dad is Input incarnate. He’s a retired rabbi with a passion for collecting Jewish books and artwork, though recently he’s expanded his art collection to include other genres. He also loves words and he has books in at least 15 different languages. I’m pretty sure he can at least decode, if not translate, something from each one.
People with Input thrive in environments that are full of opportunities to expand their brains. They are happiest when they are either left alone to learn or are around people who are curious, knowledgeable, or eager to share their wisdom. They also love places like libraries, museums, and educational institutions. Many of the graduate students I coach have Input, especially the ones who plan to stay in academia. They are excited to spend their careers building a wealth of resources on their (many) favorite topics.
People with Input enjoy playing the role of collector and archivist. For example, my dad’s house is his happy place. His collections are truly a labor of love, and perhaps a little bit of an obsession. He spends countless hours scouring ebay in search of rare and unique items to add to his gallery (but only if the price is right, of course!). My dad will happily tell you everything he knows about each piece.
People with Input love when they have an opportunity to share what they know. My dad enjoys being a resource to others and he also enjoys spending time with people who can teach him things. In his retirement, he’s started teaching English language learners from many different countries, and I love seeing how happy he is to connect with people who have such a variety of experiences. I think that teaching and getting to learn from his students feeds both sides of his Input Strength.
Outside of a drive to learn and collect information, some people with Input enjoy being in places where they can collect resources at discount rates or buy things in bulk. Think thrift stores and Costco: you can never have too many pairs of socks or too much white rice or granola, right? You’re going to need these things eventually, so why not stock up now!
Input struggles with the concept of “enoughness” in regard to information and resources. People with Input hate feeling like they don’t have enough data to proceed or enough resources to be prepared. When it comes to making decisions, they may spend days, weeks, months, or even years gathering “enough” information before making a choice.
When it comes to people, I think of Input as the Jewish Mother Strength – always worrying that there won’t be enough food for everyone. In the case of one of my best friends, this resulted in leftover hummus for weeks after ordering too much for her daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. There is a fine line between having enough and having so much that things go to waste. In the latter case, Input can find that it has frustrated itself by not being able to find a home for time-limited resources like food.
People with Input also get frustrated when others don’t see the value in their physical collections or intellectual contributions. Especially when these collections may appear disorganized on the outside, it is important to know that many people with Input know exactly where things are. At their best, people with Input are organizers and curators. For example, my dad takes great pride in walking people around his house and sharing his thematically-organized collections with others. His favorite visitors are those who share his interest and want to learn more. He knows where (just about) everything is in his house, and that is pretty remarkable!
Looking for someone to gather data, create a fantastic collection, or build a resource database for you? Call someone with Input! They will scour the ends of the earth to make sure you have the best resources available.
By Ariela Freedman
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If you don’t want to talk to me, but you are interested in Jewish history and culture or if you simply appreciate signed, limited-edition books and beautiful artwork, go visit with my dad. He is always happy to welcome visitors and share his collections with others (just try not to knock over any of the towering stacks of books… or anything else).