The 36 Thinking Capacities

If your child asked you to name the things they are good at, what would you say?  Soccer?  Reading?  Making jewelry?   Cartwheels?  Baking cookies for your elderly neighbors?  Really, these are all skills, and they speak to something deeper.  Something that cannot be so easily honed and developed.  The skills we have, the things we enjoy and are good at, even the things we wish we excelled at, all contribute to our personality.  Our personality can be defined in a variety of ways but perhaps the simplest explanation is the best: the essential character of a person.


This character can be described in a series of areas that really describe us, sort of describe us, sort of do not describe us, or do not describe us at all.  There are 36 different thinking capacities that all work to help describe the personality, or essential character of a person.  This is not to say that any one area is better that another.  It is also not to suggest that people are meant to be typecast neatly into little boxes based on personal preferences. Rather, identification of strengths, and (ahem) areas of improvement serve as a starting point for helping to define ways to inspire another human being.  If you are a person that has a high capacity for precision, stirring the proverbial pot by introducing a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants experience might not go over so well.  Likewise, if you have a child that has a high capacity for humor, wouldn’t it be best to figure out a way to help him or her capitalize on this strength and use it appropriately, rather than stifling it?

 The 36 Thinking Capacities are listed (below).  Use them to help gain a better understanding of yourself, and/or the other people in your life.  Once you understand, you can relate better.  Once you relate better, there is no place to go but up. 

  1. Collaboration – Enjoys working in a group
  2. Concentration – At her best when she can focus on one thing for a long period of time
  3. Enrolling – Likes meeting new people and engaging with them
  4. Equality – Wants to make sure everyone is treated fairly
  5. Feeling for Others – Thinks about others almost more than he does himself
  6. Fixing It – Likes to make things and situations better
  7. Flexibility – “Goes with the flow”
  8. Gathering – Likes to collect things, ideas, or trinkets
  9. Get to Action – Wants to see things done ASAP
  10. Goal Setting – Has a consistent drive to get things done
  11. Humor – Likes to find the “funny” in situations
  12. Including – Makes sure everyone is included
  13. Innovation – Loves to create and come up with new ways to do things
  14. Intimacy – Prefers to have close, genuine friends with just a few others
  15. Connection – Takes ideas from various people and combines them into something bigger
  16. Love of Learning – Loves learning new things
  17. Loving Ideas – Energized by new concepts
  18. Making Order – Likes to organize a mess
  19. Mentoring – Likes to help others find success
  20. Optimism – Enthusiastic and positive
  21. Peacemaking – Seeks out harmony and avoids confrontation
  22. Personalizing – In tune with what makes other people tick
  23. Precision – Needs to do things in particular order
  24. Reliability – Responsible and strives to be dependable
  25. Seeking Excellence – Makes the most out of anything
  26. Self-confidence – Confident about what he does
  27. Standing Out – Appreciates being recognized for accomplishments
  28. Storytelling – Uses stories to bring ideas and thoughts to life
  29. Strategy – Enjoys thinking about the possibilities (if this, then that…)
  30. Taking Charge – Prefers to be in a leadership position
  31. Thinking Ahead – Gets excited when thinking about the future and plans ahead
  32. Thinking Alone – Needs time alone to think over ideas
  33. Thinking Back – Likes looking back at what has happened in the past
  34. Thinking Logically – Needs to know specific information, not generalizations
  35. Values – Has a strong core set of values and isn’t afraid to show them
  36. Wanting to Win – Thrives on competition