In a fast moving, increasingly automated, and technologically centered world, where we’re encouraged to “think on our feet,” and “hit the ground running,” there are people who completely buck the trend. They prefer to slow down, take the time to mull things over, and consider their actions, the world, and their place in it.
Meet the deep thinker…here are 10 traits that they might commonly exhibit:
Invariably, many deep thinkers are reserved, quiet and introverted. This isn’t hard to understand. If you spend a lot of time in your head, and not much time outside socializing, you’re not exactly going to be an extrovert.
While this isn’t a hard and fast rule (none of the traits listed are, as there will always be people who stray from “the norm”), many deep thinkers tend to be introverts simply because deep thinking isn’t a social activity. They aren’t social butterflies, and spend a lot of time on their own considering a problem before coming to a conclusion.
Blurt out an answer? Never. Be the center of attention at a party? Not on your life. You’ll most likely find them sitting away from the dance floor, animatedly talking to one person. That’s their jam.
Deep thinkers take in more than they put out, meaning, they say less, and observe more. They fully engage with their interests, exhaustively poring over a topic before forming an opinion, or passing judgement. Because they tend to be more observant and wait before coming to a conclusion, they’re not easily swayed by popular opinion.
They need time to fully consider the topic, and collect all the facts before making a decision. This can be frustrating for people around a deep thinker who demand an immediate answer, and realize it’s never going to happen. In the long run, you can rest assured that with a deep thinker, once they’ve come to a decision, it’s not been made lightly. Their solution has been examined from every angle to minimize potential problems and give the best possible outcome. Who doesn’t want that?!
Contrary to popular belief, deep thinkers have a wicked sense of humor! Yes, that’s right, they’re not the staid, boring, overly serious party poopers as portrayed in every newspaper or magazine article.
While they certainly aren’t the life of the party, they definitely have a fun, silly, and quirky sense of humor. They can be oddballs, clever, witty, and quick to find the humor in any situation. They are often self-deprecating, and understand how to laugh at themselves.
Some of the greatest philosophers, and writers, from Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece, and the Middle Ages, such as Cicero, Aristophanes, and Thomas Aquinas, believed humor was important to learning. Deep thinkers are not wet blankets and cherish a good laugh.
4. Voracious Readers
Deep thinkers are constantly immersed in books. They have a thirst for knowledge and a deep-seated need to learn more and expand their understanding. Books are their ‘go-to’ places to acquire knowledge. Books are also their friends, and their solace, offering a refuge from the noise and distraction of the outside world. To know more, you need to take in as much information as possible – books are your best bet. Deep thinkers know this and devour books by the truckload.
How is this possible, you ask?! They think of everything! Well, that’s the problem, they think so much that day-to-day tasks get pushed out of their heads, or at the very least, put on a back burner. They’d rather ruminate over pressing issues, problem solve, or be actively learning than remember to pick up a loaf of bread at the store on their way home.
Your deep thinker spouse might love you to bits, but has surely forgotten an anniversary, birthday, or failed to turn up to your parent’s place for Sunday dinner. They forget to meet social obligations because these things don’t matter to them that much, i.e., socializing isn’t high on their list of priorities. It’s nothing personal, and it’s not intentionally malicious, it’s just that these situations often involve conforming to societal expectations like making small talk or discussing things that aren’t terribly interesting to them, so attending easily slips their minds.
Thinking about their next big idea, means they have no time to listen to your sister drone on about the latest episode of “Keeping up with the Kardashians,” or chat about football scores with your dad. It’s not even on their radar, so some patience, understanding, and gentle reminders will go a long way with the deep person in your life.
Deep thinkers are insatiably curious about the world around them. They want to understand how things work, why some things are done this way, and not that way, and what makes people tick.
History, politics, literature, science, you name it – they want to know more, because knowledge makes them happy. The world is their proverbial oyster. They can be the most fully engaged people you will ever meet, knowing a little something about everything.
Life is fascinating to them, and they are never bored. They don’t need someone to entertain them; they know how to make life interesting for themselves, and those around them.
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When you think that much, you are bound to take stock of your life and what you want from it. It is no coincidence that successful people tend to be deep thinkers. They’ve taken the time to think about their future, and where they fit in (or don’t), and they have a game plan in life.
Just ‘winging it’ isn’t for them. They don’t fly by the seat of their pants, because they need to know all the options available to them beforehand. Having a concrete plan in life takes patience, a lot of thought, and careful preparation – the core attributes of deep thinkers.
8. Problem Solvers
Deep thinkers make excellent problem solvers. Since deep thinking comes naturally to them, they can see patterns and potential obstacles quickly. Their patience in teasing out all the solutions, means they are less likely to make costly mistakes because they’ve taken the time to think about the options from every possible angle.
These are the people in your office you go to when you’re stuck. They’re the people you want on your team to run those final numbers and check to see that all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. Just don’t expect a quick answer; a solid, well thought out answer, yes, but be prepared to wait.
Deep thinkers, in addition to tending towards introversion, dislike many of the culturally accepted norms and behaviors expected of us on a day-to-day basis. They detest small talk, a.k.a, ‘elevator conversations.’ They speak only when something is important enough to say, not just for the sake of talking to fill in awkward silences. They don’t find silence off-putting or uncomfortable because they are usually lost in thought, and prefer their own company to mindless chatter with strangers.
This can make socializing a bit difficult for them as they will quickly disengage from gossip and mundane conversations and can come off as snobby, or aloof. It’s far from the truth, as deep thinkers actually tend to be down to earth, pragmatic, and genuine souls, but feel if they don’t have anything meaningful to add, they just won’t say it. They prefer one-on-one conversations where they can focus their time and energy on that particular person and have a deeper connection.
Because deep thinkers tend to be introverted, and loners, they are often misunderstood. As a result, they learn early on to rely on themselves and become fiercely independent. They enjoy spending time alone, not dreading or fearing it, because they know this is when they can recharge, and think over what they want to do without distraction. Also, because typical social events can be uncomfortable and tiresome for them, they learn quickly how to enjoy solitude and make the most of it.
Do you consider yourself a deep thinker? Do you see yourself in any of the traits described above? Maybe you see a co-worker, loved one, or friend there? While the traits listed are far from exhaustive, they’re a place to start if you want to understand what makes (and what it takes to be) a deep thinker.