If I could rename and redefine one strength, it would be Input®. From my experience, it is the most misunderstood talent. Without fail, in every retreat, someone with Input® raises their hand and says, “This does not describe me.” And, I understand why!


First, Input® is not a term people typically use in describing themselves or others, so it is a bit wonky. I would change the name to Curiosity because I think it more accurately and positively reflects people with this strength.


Second, the Gallup® definition focuses on collecting which has many negative connotations. Many associate collections with consumerism and capitalism, which counteracts the popular trend of minimalism. Collections also have the connotations of being static, constant things, like Grandpa’s old baseball card collection in the basement. I think people with Input have so much more to offer! I see their “collections” as living, breathing, changing mixtures of curiosities in their minds and lives.


Third, the Input® basement label of hoarder also turns a lot of people off to the brilliance of this talent. To show you how fascinating the Input® balcony can be, let’s watch fashion designer and entrepreneur Anna Sui re-frame the meaning of collection in terms of her home, work, and life (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouch1OBhIIE). Sui talks about how collecting for her is a matter of mixing inspirations from literature, role models, vibes, colors, history, things she already owns, etc. She enjoys the research process to find these inspirations, learn more about them, and find uses for them. She especially appreciates the details and can recall them instantly, like a piece of furniture’s creator, former owner, or unique craftsmanship. And, she doesn’t collect for the sake of collecting; she edits everything to create a one-of-a-kind final product. It’s her curiosity personified!


Another reason Input® is so misunderstood is that, more so than other talents, it’s appearance really depends on the other dominant domains in your top 5 or 10. For instance, if you are strong in relationship building, you have a natural curiosity about the people in your lives. You are always asking, “How was your weekend? How is your cat? How is your new exercise routine going?” And, you ask because you genuinely want to know the answers, remember the responses, and potentially use that information at another time. It is not uncommon to find someone with Input® remembering details about colleagues more easily than some colleagues can remember about themselves. Many people with Input® say, “well, doesn’t everyone ask do that?” The answer is, unfortunately, no. This is something special about you! Different talents may ask, but they have different motivations and uses.


So, I hope this makes some Input® or Curiosity person’s day! If you know someone with the talent, please share this post to boost their strength’s confidence.


Clifton StrengthsFinder® is a registered trademark of Gallup, Inc. The non-Gallup information you are receiving has not been approved and is not sanctioned or endorsed by Gallup® in any way. Opinions, views, and interpretations of Clifton StrengthsFinder® are solely the beliefs of Stronger Not Harder.