Late Earl Nightingale, also known as the ‘Dean of Personal Development’, believed that there exist two types of people: RIVER PEOPLE and GOAL PEOPLE. Both experience achievement and success in life, but in different ways.
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Goal people are individuals who believe in timetable approach. They write down their objectives and focus on attaining them one by one whereas River people don't follow such a structured route to success. They don’t have a concrete plan with measurable goals, but are still successful because they are so passionate about their area of interest that they only rest once they have achieved their much awaited destination.
By laying out a roadmap of future achievements in front of them, goal people provide a clear set of stimuli to their creative minds to work upon and their subconscious minds brew only those ideas and insights that will compliment their set roadmap of achievements.
River people, on the other hand, are happiest and most fulfilled individuals, who like to wade in a rich "river" of interest; a subject or profession about which they are very passionate. This helps them in recognizing breakthrough opportunities that are generally invisible from the mental radar of the more narrowly focused goal people.
From the standpoint of knowledge, river people are explorers. They continually seek out for learning opportunities and new experiences, unlike goal people for whom learning things apart from their stated objective is like a deviation from their path.
And from the standpoint of creativity, river people are more likely to benefit from serendipity, because they tend to be more open to new ideas, points of view and insights than single-minded, focused goal people.
In our day-to-day life, we encounter people who show the traits of both personalities. For instance, a creative person in a timetable job! In his full-time job, he is expected to be goal oriented. He has specific personal and departmental objectives for which he is responsible.
At the same time he gets excited about being a creative writer and wants to learn new skills and collect new information about innovation and technology for writing and nurturing his growing Web site! So at different scenario, people embody characteristics of both the personalities.
Likewise, most of us embody traits of both the personalities in different situations. To strategize success on personal and professional level, it is important for us to distinguish between our tasks and related personality, i.e., when do we need to strategize and when should we just ‘go with the wind’!
The important point is to recognize and nurture both aspects of our personality as there is so much more to explore and know that we ought to make time in our lives for both our goal and river personas. After all, both bring richness and fullness to our lives.
Thus, the basic strategy for success is not to strategize it, but to be on the lookout for new experiences and learning opportunities on a daily basis. You never know when they're going to appear -- the key is to recognize them when they do!
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