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  • There are five recognized thinking styles: those who employ them are called synthesists, idealists, pragmatists, analysts, and realists.
  • Synthesists stand out with their creativity and curiosity; they like to consider different ideas, views, and possibilities.
  • Idealists are always setting and working toward big goals—they set the bar high and expect others to do the same.
  • Pragmatists take a logical approach to problem-solving; they focus on immediate results, as opposed the long-term effects.
  • Analysts are interested in the facts and data points—they have a clear procedure for doing all things.
  • Realists are the perfect problem-solvers; tackle problems head-on and don’t feel challenged by your everyday conundrum.

We employ different ways of thinking—some of us take a creative approach, while others are more analytic; some are focused on the short-term, while others think about the long-term. While we all have unique minds, our tendencies have been summed up into five recognized thinking styles: synthesists, or the creative thinkers; idealists, or the goal-setters; pragmatists, or the logical thinkers; analysts, or the rational intellectuals; and finally, realists, or the perfect problem-solvers. Which group of thinkers do you belong to?

Synthesists: The creative thinkers

Synthesists are largely defined by their creative and curious nature. Instead of leading with logic, they love to explore more abstract ideas. They ask, “what if?” and consider a range of views and possibilities. Some perceive synthesists as being argumentative, as they’re quick to bring attention to opposing views—but these creative thinkers can prevent this perception by first acknowledging others’ ideas before presenting alternatives.

Idealists: The goal-setters

Idealists set high standards and are always working toward larger-than-life goals. While others might perceive them as perfectionists, in their minds, they’re simply putting their best foot forward. These individuals are future-oriented, they value teamwork, and they expect everyone to work hard. However, it’s important for idealists to realize that others have their own standards and expectations—of which might not match up with the idealist’s standards and expectations.

Pragmatists: The logical thinkers

Pragmatists don’t waste any time—they take action. They tackle problems logically, step-by step. They’re focused on getting things done, but they aren’t interested in understanding the big picture like idealists are. Rather than considering what’s best in the long-term, they think short-term. While pragmatists get things done, they can benefit from taking a step back and reflecting on big ideas.

Analysts: The rational intellectuals

Analysts work methodically. They gather all of the facts and data, measuring and categorizing along the way. Their personality is rooted in being thorough, accurate, and rational; analysts are always looking for a formula or outlined procedure for solving problems. These individuals tend to discount other ideas, but should open their minds, as other ideas offer unique value.

Realists: The perfect problem-solvers

Realists are quick on their feet, and they do whatever it takes to solve the problem at hand. That said, realists bore easily—they don’t feel challenged by everyday problems or stressors as most do. Yet, they want to be challenged. Realists can benefit, like pragmatists, from taking a step back and looking at a problem from different angles. They should take a little more time to gather all of the information that is available to them and find the best solution (which isn’t always the first solution) before acting.

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