Let me pose a question to you. Do you know why some people just seem to pop out of the womb knowing who they are to become, and others don’t?
The first type knows who they are to become and has an all consuming passion which never relents. They eat, breathe, and even sleep their passion.
The other type, well, they dabble. They try on different hats. They start and stop. They taste many varieties of life, and sometimes settle on something. Sometimes, however, they never settle.
I have often wondered why this is. And, more personally, I have wondered how to harness the dabbling way of approaching life and use it to my advantage. I don’t know the one thing which I am supposed to do. I have often dreamed of waking with a sudden realization of what I am “supposed” to do.
It has never happened.
I recently discovered an analogy which has changed my approach to the whole topic. I found it incredibly life giving, so I wanted to share it with you.
I’ve been listening to Earl Nightingale’s 6 CD audio series, The Strangest Secret. Besides being one of my favorite books, Nightingale explains how there are two types of people in life.
The river people and the goals people.
River people are the people who have an all consuming passion which never relents. It doesn’t matter where they are, who they are with, their whole life is caught up in the great river of their interest.
They often don’t care for making money as long as their basic needs are met. The only thing that matters is the ability to pursue that which fulfills their heart. And they pursue it with an unstoppable drive.
You may know a river person. If you are reading this, you probably are not one because they are too busy doing what they do.
These people often eventually make large amounts of money because they bring very important things to our society. Einstein was a river person. As was Picasso, Mozart, and da Vinci.
Goals people, in contrast, are the large majority who don’t especially know what they want to become. Their interests are often as varied as the creatures in the sea. They may dabble in many interests. Until they settle on one which feels right.
Goals people often feel unfulfilled with life, unless, they pursue goals to help them clarify what their river of interest actually is.
Goals therefore guide them in the direction they should go.
Which are you? Do you have an all consuming river of interest, or are you pulled in different and varied directions, making you a goals person?
I am a goals person. My interests are many and each seems to pull me as do currents in the ocean. I find myself swept up in one interest only to get tossed to shore by a hardship. I am tempted to quickly jump into another current of interest when this happens.
And the cycle continues.
There may be nothing wrong with this for some people. I, however, want to know I am living the best life I can with the time I have.
I therefore want to know what interest should be pursued over another. This struggle has often left me feeling ineffective and confused. I can’t focus on or pursue them all, but choosing one feels as though I am forsaking all the others.
Then comes the trump card. Fear: What if I choose the wrong one?
An action plan for goals people
Nightingale put forth a wonderful plan in his series which set my heart at ease. This gave me a new perspective.
Nightingale suggested this:
If you are a goals person, to be effective in life, you must use goals to your advantage!
They will be your compass.
First, however, you must identify what your driving passions in life are. All of them.
Take a legal pad, he says, and write down all the things you want to accomplish in life. Your every dream and whimsical thought. Don’t hold back. Write them all down.
He then says to rate them in order of importance. This, then, is the order in which you will go about pursuing your goals. Focus on the one rated most important first and go from there.
When one is finished, you may have others to add to the list.
Keep adding and altering your order of importance as it pertains to your seasons of life, but keep chipping away at your list.
By doing this, an amazing thing happens! You eventually discover your “river of interest.” You also discover layers of increased growth and confidence which come from pursuing a worthy goal.
You will be like a large ship. Always moving towards a destination. You will make a difference, and your life will be an inspiration to others!
You will be doing something. Setting goals this way makes the process as simple as following a recipe. Do the first thing, then the next, then the next.
This allows us to thrive. We are pursuing the things in life which give us the most joy!
It gives us direction and a clear plan. I thrive on a clear plan.
I am so grateful for ideas which change my life for the better. This is one of them.
Question: Does this strike a chord in your heart as it did mine?