People who are deep thinkers usually share these 9 traits

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Deep thinkers go below the surface.

They care about what’s true and meaningful far more than the average person. 

Here’s how you can spot a deep thinker. 

1) A sense of wonder

Before anything else comes wonder. 

Before wondering why we’re here or what it means or probing the limits of quantum mechanics and spirituality, a deep thinker has a profound experience:

All-powerful, all-encompassing wonder that sweeps over his or her entire being. 

Isn’t it absolutely:

  • Incredible
  • Amazing
  • Terrifying
  • Bizarre
  • Beautiful
  • Horrible
  • Strange

That we are here on a planet in space, feeling these deep emotions and capable of conscious thought. 

As the philosopher Martin Heidegger said, the primary and deepest thought of all that begins all other thoughts is:

Why is there anything at all instead of just nothing? 

2) Deep curiosity 

No deep thinker has ever existed who wasn’t curious. 

Every philosophy, religion and spiritual path starts with wonder and curiosity. 

Wonder is what I mentioned in point one: it always comes first. 

From science to faith, great thinkers have pondered why we’re here, how our world works and what it means. 

This deep curiosity refuses to be easily satisfied and is a kind of endless thirst that’s impossible to slake. 

The world we know and all its progress is built on this curiosity. 

3) Healthy skepticism 

Along with curiosity, deep thinkers are skeptical. 

This means they don’t buy things at face value and tend to question received narratives and easy answers. 

They may recognize the accomplishments of the past as well as the wisdom and knowledge of those who came before them. 

But deep thinkers strike a balance of appreciation of what they’re taught and also testing its limits. 

This healthy skepticism means deep thinkers are seldom the type to just fall in line without questioning. 

They stay curious, questioning and skeptical: and they keep the ball rolling forward. 

4) High self-awareness 

Deep thinkers are highly self-aware

They know their own strengths and weaknesses and they spend time in introspection and thought about their own place in the universe. 

This self-awareness is like the “control” factor or group in a scientific experiment. 

In other words, a deep thinker wants to understand himself or herself fully before reaching any big conclusions on what’s around them. 

It’s like first determining how the glasses you are wearing may be affecting your vision before commenting on what you see. 

The deep thinker wants to know how he or she works internally and why before reaching any strong conclusions about the external. 

5) Tending toward introspection

Deep thinkers tend to be more introverted and engage in self-reflection. 

The process of introspection is essentially about looking inside yourself and seeing what you find. 

It’s also about analyzing oneself and looking honestly at both the upsides and downsides of your approach to life, love, career and spirituality. 

Deep thinkers like to sit and think by themselves at times, which can sometimes make them seem absent-minded in public.

Often a deep thinker seems “spaced out” when in actuality he or she is just reflecting on something and tuned out from their present surroundings at that moment. 

6) Avoiding feel-good generalizations

Deep thinkers can hold strong beliefs. They know that sometimes being too open-minded makes your brain fall out. 

For example, it’s now increasingly popular in New Age and far left and far right conspiracy circles to hear that the universe and what happens in it is just all “energy” and that outer reality is just a physical manifestation of our inner reality.

This is bullshit, obviously. 

But it’s the type of bullshit that draws a lot of people in because it sounds deep, all-comprehensive and mystical. 

Deep thinkers avoid such easy, sweeping ideas as this, and recognize that they are partly attractive as a form of wish-fulfillment. 

7) Engaging in critical thinking

As mentioned in the previous point, deep thinkers are not always completely “open-minded,” contrary to popular opinion. 

But they never avoid critical thinking. 

This means they are willing to challenge their inherent beliefs and look at things from somebody else’s perspective. 

They are willing to ask hard questions like “how would I think and believe and behave differently if I’d been born in another time and place?”

“To what extent am I truly, uniquely me in what I believe or simply a product of sociocultural, economic and technological phenomena?” 

Deep thinkers like critical thinking, because they want to know what’s true. 

Asking questions and “problematizing” any view or belief is very useful:

If it ultimately leads to proving your suppositions correct, great!

If it ultimately leads to you rethinking your beliefs, all the better and more interesting! 

8) Embracing useful analysis

There is such a thing as being over-analytical and sometimes deep thinkers can go toward this extreme. 

But on the beneficial side, a deep thinker is never afraid of deep analysis

This means that he or she is willing to crunch numbers when it’s necessary…

He or she is willing to step back and judge biases in coverage and information on an event…

He or she is able and ready to analyze the heck out of something if that’s going to be of use and provide accurate and meaningful insights.

9) Befriending unique people 

Deep thinkers tend to befriend unique people

They aren’t scared off by the labels society attaches or the reputations that people get from various oddities. 

This is less about being open-minded as it is about the curiosity I mentioned earlier. 

Profound ponderers want to see all sides of issues and really see things from different perspectives. 

For that reason they want to be friends with as diverse and unique a set of friends as possible, not only those similar to them or in the same “class” or social circles as they are. 

Think about it

Are you a deep thinker? 

If you are then you’ll find yourself relating to a lot of the traits above. 

If not, you might find them surprising or even a bit odd. 

The truth is that there are advantages and disadvantages to being a deep thinker, and it’s all about maximizing the talents that you do have. 

If you are a deep thinker, remember to anchor your thinking in the real world around you and avoid getting lost  in the abstract or purely theoretical. 

If you’re not a deep thinker, remember to keep one around: they can come in useful! 

Paul Brian

Paul R. Brian is a freelance journalist and writer who has reported from around the world, focusing on religion, culture and geopolitics. Follow him on www.twitter.com/paulrbrian and visit his website at www.paulrbrian.com

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