A colleague of mine is trying to describe herself as "capable of seeing a situation from multiple perspectives" or "able to look at the big picture from various viewpoints". I feel like there must be a better way to get this point across.

Is there a more concise way to describe this characteristic?

  • 2
    A Picasso model.
    – Mitch
    Commented Sep 5, 2013 at 18:34
  • 4
    Joni Mitchell looks at life from both sides now.
    – bib
    Commented Sep 5, 2013 at 19:40
  • i think they call that multiple personality disorder... Commented Sep 5, 2013 at 21:17
  • None of the other answers yet seem to quite get at the particular ability of seeing multiple perspectives. Omniscience certainly goes too far, but it definitely covers it.
    – Sam
    Commented Sep 5, 2013 at 21:41
  • The idiom of "seeing from multiple perspectives" is used in different ways. Is she after "being able to understand the positions of other parties in a conflict" or "being able to look at a problem in different ways in order to find novel solutions"?
    – smithkm
    Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 5:48

13 Answers 13




There are more synonyms under the link for "broad-minded".



Clear-minded, astute, perceptive, discerning (Chambers)

Interestingly, perspicacious has etymological roots which are similar to perspective./


I would suggest the following:


comprehending mentally; having an extensive mental range or grasp.

of broad scope or content; including all or much


not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased: an objective opinion.


The expression, a critical thinker could fit. It is an invaluable academic skill which once learned is never forgotten.

It means not taking what you hear or read at face value, but using your critical faculties to weigh up the evidence, and considering the implications and conclusions of what the writer is saying.

On Critical thinking.org there is a cool wheel which lists the characteristics of critical thinking.

Critical thinking

and finally on Wikipedia we have this (emphasis mine):

Critical thinking is a way of deciding whether a claim is always true, sometimes true, partly true, or false. It can be traced in the West to ancient Greece with its Socratic method and in the East to ancient India with the Buddhist kalama sutta and abhidharma literature. Critical thinking is an important component of most professions [...] Critical thinking employs not only logic but broad intellectual criteria such as clarity, credibility, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, significance, and fairness.



I think the personality trait you are looking for is perceptive:

People who tend to focus on taking in information prefer Perceiving because they stay open to a final decision in order to get more information.

  • Re-generalizing from one aspect of a specialized use is ill-advised. “Perceptive” would carry a more general meaning than what you've quoted, even inside an MBTI context (and way more general a meaning in any other context). Besides that, people who follow this tendency (and the others in the 'P' domain) would probably be referred to as “preferring Perceiving” to avoid confusion with the common sense of “perceptive”, that is, “the sense of having quick and accurate perceptions about people and events.” (See knowyourtype.com/myers-briggs/8_preferences-html/…) Commented Sep 10, 2013 at 20:29

Your colleague could be a divergent thinker.

 a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions.

Read more here: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divergent_thinking


I'd propose "man of vision".

(But not necessarily visionary, which seems to be taken with a slighly different meaning)

  • Hmmmm. You'd propose that a woman be known as a "man of vision?"
    – Jack Ryan
    Commented Sep 5, 2013 at 19:05
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    Well it would be a "woman of vision", unless she had a sex reassignment surgery ;-)) And if they were 2 , they would be "women of vision". Let me know if more declination is useful :-)
    – Pam
    Commented Sep 5, 2013 at 19:15
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    +1 Pam, given the voting I guess you were supposed to list all possibilities!
    – dcaswell
    Commented Sep 9, 2013 at 18:37

Someone with kaleidoscope eyes can be said to see things in multiple perspectives.


Capable of using both brains (right and left) where the left brain can process in sequence and the right brain can comprehend simultaneously. Leonardo DaVinci was a classic thinker capable of seeing and articulating in multiple dimensions.


A person capable of seeing a situation from multiple perspectives might be referred to as schizophrenic, using the word in its slang sense “Behaving as if one has more than one personality”. However, this is not necessarily a “better way to get this point across” vs phrases like “able to look at the big picture from various viewpoints” mentioned in the question.

One might also say, informally, “able to walk in other people's shoes”.


Does she see all situations in multiple perspectives?

There's two perspectives for this: open-minded and unfocused.


• Omnispectral Sagacity


• Divergent Perspicacity


• Perspicaciousness



A Devil's Advocate can see multiple perspectives and argue them effectively.

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    Though I would agree that being "capable of seeing a situation from multiple perspectives" would help in acting as a Devil's Advocate, the phrase (particularly the original meaning) refers to someone who adopts a single position, not multiple positions.
    – JeffSahol
    Commented Sep 5, 2013 at 20:43
  • 3
    basically they pretend to have a different view than their actual view Commented Sep 6, 2013 at 0:00
  • How would I See X from the perspective of Y?
    – user87105
    Commented Jun 6, 2021 at 20:06

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