Are you a goal person or a river person?
Goal people layout a roadmap of goals and set out to achieve them.
River people, on the other hand, go with the flow. They live for the moment and don’t worry too much about the future.
Neither is good or bad, or right or wrong. Both are appealing in different ways. They’re just different approaches for the journey of life.
In the book, Goal-Free Living: How to Have the Life You Want NOW!, Stephen M. Shapiro writes about goal people and river people.
Goal People Map Out the Future
Goal people create a path of goals, objectives and timetables.
“Most of us are undoubtedly familiar with goal people. They are the individuals who write down their objectives and timetables for reaching them, and then focus on attaining them, one by one.
By laying out a roadmap of future achievements in front of them, goal people give their creative minds a clear set of stimuli to work on. T
Their subconscious minds can then go to work incubating ideas and insights that will help them to reach their goals.”
River People Explore and Experience Life
River people lead a more unstructured life. They seek out learning opportunities and experiences.
“River People, on the other hand, don’t like to follow such a structured route to success. They are called river people because they are happiest and most fulfilled when they are wading in a rich river of interest – a subject or profession about which they are very passionate.
While they may not have a concrete plan with measurable goals, rive people are often successful because they are so passionate about their area of interest.
This, in turn, helps them to recognize, breakthrough opportunities that may not even be visible on the mental radar screens of the more narrowly focused goal people. River people are explorer, continually seeking out learning opportunities and new experiences.
For river people, joy comes from the journey, not from reaching the destination – exactly the opposite of goal people. 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.”
Goal-Free Living is About Experiences
Goal-free people choose a life of experience over achievement.
“River people are individuals who live life out of experience rather than achievement. People driven by passion. These are the goal-free people.
Goal-free people don’t necessarily live a life free from all goals.
They live from from the stranglehold of goals that grips so many people. They live experientially in each moment. A life of their design rather than that which society tells them to live. They have a deep appreciation for what they are today; they avoid worrying about the future.”
Key Take Aways
Here are my key take aways:
- There’s two types of people: goal people and river people. Earl Nightingale, chairman of Nightingale-conant and personal development leader originally explained there are two types of people: goal people and river people.
- Chuck Frey provides a good perspective on the difference. Chuck Frey, founder of innovationtools.com explained the difference to Shapiro (below).
- Goals vs. opportunities. Goal people layout a roadmap of goals. River people seek out learning opportunities and experiences.
- Achievement vs. experience. Goal people seek out achievement. River people seek out experience.
- Future-oriented vs. living in the moment. Goal people are future oriented. River people live for the moment.
On the river of life, which one are you?