CliftonStrengths: Learner “The Perpetual Student”

From current events to coding, those with the theme of learner enjoy learning about anything and everything. In fact, learners care less about the outcome of what was learned and more about the process of learning as a whole. Similarly, having the theme of learner does not necessarily mean that you strive to become an expert on the things you learn about, but rather the energy and excitement that arises through the journey from ignorance to competence brings you satisfaction.

Because your other themes are what help shape your learner, everyone will experience their learner in different ways. Hailey, a student who works at the MU Career Center, has the theme of learner, but she also has input and intellection, which she describes as “hard to separate” from her learner. While people with the theme of input like to archive information and constantly have a craving to know more, people with the theme of intellection enjoy thinking about topics they find interesting. Since her learner is “so dependent on input and intellection,” which all fall under the strategic thinking domain, the way Hailey experiences her learner is through the combination of all three of these themes. Overall, she describes her learner as “a want to understand- not even the need to know, just the goal to understand and want to be educated about something.” Learner is her central theme, but her input is what drives her to archive and keep learning more, and her intellection is what influences her to think critically and engage in intellectual discussions.

Because she has the majority of her strengths in one domain, Hailey thought that meant she lacked skills in other domains. “I have zero relationship building strengths, so for a while I thought that meant I am unable to build relationships,” she begins. However, after continuing to invest time in her strengths, Hailey came to realize the exact opposite, and she explains how “the way in which I build my relationships is using what strengths I do have.” While she doesn’t have any relationship building themes, Hailey explains how she uses her learner “to learn about somebody and understand them… and using that knowledge to relate as opposed to something different like empathy,” which is a relationship building strength. By turning her talent theme of learner into her strength, Hailey was able to not only identify her areas of weakness but also see how she can use what strengths she has to overcome those areas. After taking the CliftonStrengths assessment, you are presented with your top five talent themes that reflect your potential; however, the more you look into these themes the more you will begin to understand yourself and your natural tendencies. Overall, we refer to strengths as talent times investment- CliftonStrengths will help identify your top five talent themes, but it is up to you to take the time to invest in and learn about your theme to make it your strength.

Like with every theme, there is a shadow side to having the learner strength, one of which Hailey herself is still learning to overcome. “I am somewhat an external processor,” she begins, “ but if someone gives me a task, I will think about it in my head and then tell them the result but not how I got there.” Despite this, the fact that Hailey acknowledges what she does is the first step to overcoming her shadow side.. However, just by having the knowledge of your strength you are giving language to your abilities, which can be helpful when it comes to how to build on and use those strengths.

Because learning is a continuous process that enables individuals to grow and learn in ways unique to themselves, those with the learner strength can help others see how powerful of an impact learning can have on the growth of individuals.