Photo courtesy of Spell with Flickr.

i read a thought-provoking post today by hugh macleod which suggests that most people can be classified into three distinct groups:  changers, contributors and coasters.  this is used within the context of employees in companies, but i think this can pretty much be applied to any group.

1. The “Changers”. These are the people who use their work as a platform to “Change The World”. They go into a market and try to change it, in order to create something better, both for themselves and for the market at large. They can be the CEO or work in the mail room. Theirs is not a social position, it’s a psychological condition.

2. The “Contributors”. These are people who want to do their jobs, do it well, and get handsomely rewarded for it. They don’t necessarily see the need for change per see, they just want to see what works, and get it done. They want to find out who’s on the winning team, and get themselves a place on it.

3. The “Coasters”. They just want to turn up and get paid. Their lives and identities are outside their work- families, friends, hobbies etc- their job is just a means to an end.None of the three is necessarily better or worse than the others- we all have different needs, different agendas, different temperaments. We’ve all made different decisions about what kind of life we want to lead, what kind of adventures we want to have. All roads exact their own unique toll. All choices come with a price.

so which are you?  and a more important question for me is which am i?  i am sure there will be overlap for a lot of people among the three, but i think that understanding which of the three drives you can help you become a happier, more productive person.  i can think of successful people that i’ve worked with who fit into all three of these categories.  i think the balance of success and happiness comes when you understand where you fit and work to find an environment that rewards your best efforts in your chosen space.  i would be interested in hearing your thoughts on this – leave a comment!