Ever wondered why your ideas often differ from those around you? And why, even when you explain them, others find it difficult to relate?
You might just be a complex thinker, a unique breed whose mind operates on a different wavelength.
Today, we dive into ten signs that this is the case.
Let’s get to it.
1) You are insatiably curious
“The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.”
This is a quote from Einstein, no doubt one of the most complex thinkers the world has ever seen. But why do I bring it up?
Because it encapsulates what it means to be a complex thinker so very well.
Complex thinkers, driven by an insatiable curiosity, often find themselves immersed in a sea of questions, eagerly diving into the depths of the unknown, and as they discover more, their hunger only grows.
It’s a trait common to almost every complex thinker throughout history.
Think Leonardo Da Vinci. His legendary curiosity wasn’t just about dabbling in art or tinkering with machines. He delved deep, eager to unravel the mysteries behind everything he touched.
Da Vinci’s curiosity wasn’t just a hobby; it was a relentless pursuit to understand the secrets and connections of our universe.
Or consider Bill Gates; he reads 50 books a year, or almost one a week!
Are you the kind of person who devours books not just for entertainment but to quench your thirst for understanding? Do you find yourself lost in hours of research, not because you have to, but because you want to?
This is curiosity at its finest – a driving force that pushes you to explore, learn, and grow. It’s not about knowing everything; it’s about the joy of the journey and the excitement of discovery.
The point is, if you often find yourself with a question on your lips and a book in your hand or deep into an internet research session, you might just be a complex thinker.
2) You are self-reflective
Do you often find yourself deep in thought, pondering over your own thoughts, feelings, and actions?
Complex thinkers are pros at this. They’re the ones asking themselves the hard-hitting questions: “Why did I react that way?” “What truly makes me tick?” or “How can I better myself?”
They know that, as Socrates put it, “To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” They have realized that to understand the world, we must first understand ourselves – like really understand.
But don’t just take my word for it; history is dotted with complex thinkers who turned inward to understand themselves better.
Take Marcus Aurelius, for example. This Roman emperor wasn’t just busy running an empire; he was also penning his thoughts in what we now know as ‘Meditations.’ His journals are a window into a mind wrestling with life’s big questions, seeking wisdom and personal growth.
Countless other renowned thinkers and creatives have embraced journaling as a tool for self-reflection. From the private diaries of Virginia Woolf, revealing her innermost thoughts, to the reflective writings of Anne Frank, capturing her hopes and fears during a time of great turmoil, journaling has been a trusted companion for those seeking deeper self-understanding.
So, if you’re someone who often steps back to ponder your life, your motives, and your emotions, or if you find solace in jotting down your thoughts in a journal, you’re definitely on the complex thinker’s path.
3) You rarely see things as black or white
Ever felt like the world around you is just too colorful to fit into neat little boxes of black and white?
If you’re a complex thinker, chances are you’re nodding your head right now.
Here’s the thing: for complex thinkers, life isn’t a straightforward, color-by-numbers game. They don’t just accept the usual ‘this or that’ answers. Instead, they dive into the shades of gray, exploring nuances and perspectives that most people miss.
Think about those debates with friends or discussions at work. While others are quick to pick a side, are you there, pondering over the ‘what ifs’ and ‘but consider this’ angles?
In a world that often favors clear-cut answers and quick judgments, complex thinkers understand that there’s a whole spectrum of ideas, opinions, and solutions out there, and they’re keen to explore each one.
So, if you often find yourself questioning the straightforward narratives, or if you’re the one bringing a different perspective to the table, then you’re likely a complex thinker.
4) You see the bigger picture
Do you often think about how what you do today might affect things tomorrow or even years from now?
If that’s you, then you’re probably a complex thinker.
You see complex thinkers don’t just focus on what’s happening right now. They’re always trying to see how everything fits together: to connect the dots, some might say.
In your personal life, this means making choices that match up with your goals and what’s important to you. At work, it means making decisions that will help the company in the long run, not just right now.
Take Jeff Bezos as an example. Many might not put him in the same category as a complex thinker, but he is. To revolutionize an industry like he has, you have to be.
Unsurprisingly, he’s also a big-picture thinker. In a 2018 interview, he revealed that he is constantly thinking a whopping two to three years in the future and hardly ever deals with short-term plans.
So, if you’re the type of person who takes a step back to think about the long-term effects of what you do, or if you’re good at putting together different pieces of a puzzle in complicated situations, then you’re definitely thinking like a complex thinker.
You’re not just living for today; you’re thinking about tomorrow and beyond, seeing how everything is connected.
5) You bounce back stronger than most
Thomas Edison faced lots of failures in his journey, but he famously said:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
This attitude is a classic sign of a complex thinker; they know that “where there is a will, there is a way”. They know their complex minds can find innovative solutions even when all seems lost.
Do you ever hit a roadblock but instead of giving up, find yourself even more determined? When things go wrong, do you get creative instead of feeling down?
If that’s you, then you’ve got the kind of resilience we often see in complex thinkers.
Complex thinkers don’t see failures and challenges the way most people do. They don’t see them as stop signs. Instead, they see them as chances to learn, grow, and come up with new ideas.
Does this sound like you?
If it does, you’re in luck. Being resilient is super important these days, especially at work. In fact, the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2023 lists “Resilience, flexibility, and agility” as one of the top skills needed in the modern job market.
The bottom line
If you see yourself in these signs, celebrate and continue to cultivate them.
They are not just markers of a unique mindset but tools for profound personal and even societal growth.
I hope you found this post enjoyable to read and that it has given you some food for thought and maybe even a little inspiration.
Until next time.