3 Types of People

Bill Abbate

Are you happy with your work? How about with your life? Let’s look at something that can help anyone create a better future for themselves and their family.

Three types of people

How do you view your job and the work you do to make a living? How about the living you do outside of work? Do you see each day as just one of many to get through? Or do you do just enough to get by? Perhaps you view each new day as another opportunity to do more.

Let’s look at three types of people and how they approach most days. While some may differ, most apply similar efforts to their work and personal life.

The three types of people include those who:

  • do as little as possible
  • do just enough to get by
  • do more than asked

Which of the three best describes you? What group do you think most people occupy?

The source of much of the information in this article is Gallup, Inc. and their report, State of the Global Workplace. Let’s incorporate their information with observations of people at work and in their lives.

Please note that most of us take on more than one characteristic of the three types of people, but we will look at each individually for discussion purposes.

Those who do as little as possible

It only makes sense this least motivated group of people would be poor performers, often called slackers. I’m sure you have encountered some of these folks more than once. They are the kind of people who work because they have to. They have little to no drive and rarely lift a finger to help anyone else. They do the bare minimum to keep their job and are not model employees!

“The slacker does not plow during planting season; at harvest time he looks, and there is nothing.” Solomon (c. 990–931 BC)

This group is fortunate to be employed and barely adds value to an organization. The results are no better when taking this approach to their personal lives. I pity those on the receiving end. There are plenty of words for such people, and you have heard many of them, so there is no sense in repeating them here. Let’s just say they are not flattering and leave it at that!

Those who do just enough to get by

This group represents the largest number of people at work and in life. A word to describe them is average. By the way, being average has the same meaning as being mediocre. Do you know anyone who likes being called mediocre?

Such people are needed to keep businesses running, although their impact is nothing to write home about. You can view them as an unfortunate necessity. Most businesses can’t survive without them even though they require more management resources than higher-performing employees.

While their work may be average at best, you may have little choice but to hire them. At least people of this type try to do their job, which is far more than can be said about those who do as little as possible.

The upside to those who do just enough to get by is some are capable of further development if you are willing to invest in them. Imagine the benefit of taking a mediocre employee and helping them improve themselves. This is often a largely untapped resource in many companies. In the end, they contain the potential to develop better attributes and may be worth the investment.

Depending on their personal life, there may also be hope for them there. While they may not be ideal for a serious relationship, they are not as neglectful as those who do as little as possible. They do possess potential.

“People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.” Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919)

Those who do more than asked

“Men who do things without being told draw the most wages.” Edwin H. Stuart (1853–1937)

While we hope most people will always do more than asked, most of us know from experience that this is by far the smallest number of the three types of people. These few will almost always go the extra mile. They are motivated and stand out from other employees and in life. Most people of this type earn a good reputation and predictably wind up with better careers and lives than the first two types of people.

When they take the same approach of going the extra mile into their life outside of work, great things happen. They tend to live fuller and richer lives with better marriages and relationships. This group is usually more satisfied, enjoying greater happiness and joy.

“There are no traffic jams when you go the extra mile.” Zig Ziglar (1926–2012)

By doing more than is asked, you separate yourself from the average. You can earn the respect of others and be depended on to do more and better.

While going the extra mile may sound like a lot, it isn’t. Think about it this way — if the average person walks about three miles per hour, it takes them 20 minutes to walk a mile. Are you willing to put in an extra 20 minutes of genuine work to stand out from the crowd and live a better life?

“Start going the extra mile and opportunity will follow you.” Napoleon Hill (1883–1970)

Final thoughts

If I could leave a single piece of advice to someone starting in life, it would be, without hesitation, to develop the habit of doing more than is asked of you as a student, in your career, personal life, and everywhere else.

Make going the extra mile a habit with the attitude of being more, doing more, and becoming more. Look forward to each day, mustering all the enthusiasm you can. Do it for yourself and those you care about, and you will live a far better life than most.

I leave you with a few words of encouragement to create this habit in your life:

“Today, do just a little bit more. Turn going the extra mile into a habit— it is what lifts most successful people above the crowd.” Bob Proctor (1934-present)



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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA
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