I enjoy learning more about how God has created me and wired me that makes me uniquely who I am. Part of this process has been identifying my strengths and weaknesses. One of the assessments which has been helpful in this is what is called as “The Thinking Wavelength”. Here is some helpful information about what this is and how it impacts the way we interact with the world around us.

Living the Life You Were Meant to Live excerpt from Tom Paterson

Each of us is born with a built-in thinking wavelength—a way of organizing the world, tolerating change, and juggling variables.  No one way of thinking is right or better.  Thinking wavelengths seem to be distributed at random throughout our world, although these thinking wavelengths do not necessarily exist in equal proportions.

Thinking wavelength is directly related to the work that you are going to do successfully.  It is related to the way you need to prepare for, seek, and perform your jobs.  It is also related to the basic communication skills you need to acquire for use in family, church, and community settings.

Read the descriptives below then plot out on the image where you are. If you could pick one point on the graph and live there all the days of your life where would you choose?


Grinders get the work done.  They are detail-minded doers.  The world cannot operate without grinders.  They provide the basic labor force for the entire world and all its operations.  They are the ultimate concrete thinkers.

Grinders have these tendencies:

  • Document things
  • Get the work done
  • Are risk-adverse
  • Like few variables
  • Take things one step at a time
  • Have a low tolerance for ambiguity
  • Understand tasks and the need to solve problems
  • Handle administrative details well
  • Deliver working drawings

Positions usually best occupied by grinders include: corporate meeting planner, mechanic, administrative assistant, software programmer, bookkeeper, and line factory worker.

Within the church, grinders will build the sets for the church play, set up the fellowship hall for receptions and banquets, do the cooking and stuff the envelopes.


Minders can manage a unit team, having both the people skills and the organizational abilities to do so.  They can supervise the performance of work.  They are basically concrete thinkers and are likely to function best in frontlinesupervision.  They will “mind the store” well, putting out brush fires upon their appearance.

Minders have these abilities:

  • Can run a department
  • Have diagnostic tendencies
  • Are usually not innovative but perceive no reason to be
  • Manage people in area of expertise.

Positions often best occupied by minders are supervisor, teacher, chief engineer, section leader, and foreman.

Within the church structure, minders can be counted upon to keep the committees and programs of the church functioning.  They will make sure the problems are solved and the details managed.


Keepers are capable of managing the whole store.  They possess an appreciation for the strategic and the administrative.  They may have both concrete and abstract thinking skills, but will be biased to administrative/operational work.  They make great mediators because they can relate to both ends of the thinking wavelength spectrum.

Keepers make good personnel managers, directors of departments, plant managers, and executive assistants.

Keepers have these tendencies and traits:

  • Handle details and see the broader vision
  • Handle variables well
  • Are operationally biased, but have a sense of the strategic and appreciate the strategic side
  • Are organized
  • Are good with people

Sample positions that are good for keepers include department operations or division manager, chief operations officer, general manager, school principal, executive pastor, and academic dean.

Within the church, keepers are usually good staff associates, filling administrative duties related to the functioning of church programs.  They are suited to be on the church board, lead home cell groups, or serve as committee chairpersons.


They are entrepreneurs.  Finders are abstract thinkers, so they often don’t complete the paperwork that most concrete thinkers require.  They are innovators and creators.  Follow-through is not their strength.  They need grinders, minders, and keepers to follow in the wake of their creativity.

Finders can have these characteristics:

  • Sense and seize opportunities
  • Spot voids and fill them
  • Are bored by a steady state
  • Are good site locators
  • Love a new challenge
  • Must be thrown “raw meat” regularly

Sample positions often best occupied by finders include chief executive officer, chief visionary, product or market manager, joint venture leader, founding pastor, advanced development engineer, and entrepreneur.

Within the church, those who function in apostolic roles tend to be finders.  They also are the ones most suited to be church planters and evangelists.  They do well on the prospects calling committee and on the stewardship committee during funding campaigns.

Conceivers (or Theorists)

Conceivers are bright, articulate, and persuasive, but in working with them, don’t expect things to come to closure.  Conceivers can lead a company down a primrose path.  They have a role best suited for universities, seminaries, and pure research laboratories.  They don’t belong in business.  They cannot manage others well, and their ideas rarely become commercialized.

Sample positions best occupied by conceivers include scientist, researcher, and philosophy professor.

Within the church, conceivers are the theologians. Unfortunately they can also be cult leaders.

Key Concepts Related to Thinking Wavelength

  • People cannot change their thinking wavelength, regardless of the amount or type of training received.
  • Abstract thinkers may be able to do a concrete thinking job for a brief time, but they quickly will become bored with such a position and become very frustrated with the details.
  • Concrete thinkers are not able to engage in abstract thinking and will be overwhelmed if asked to do so.
  • People who are asked to perform a job outside their thinking wavelength will experience stress and internal discomfort. Frustration at not being able to do it. Frustration at having to do it.

What are your thoughts? Where are you on the Thinking Wavelength?