Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Three Kinds of Life vs Three Kinds of People: Which are you?

“We are placed here on earth to solve a problem. The #EssenceOfLife is to invest in others. How well and not how long we live is the crux.”

The above quote sums up all that I learned at a recent Book Review with Friends hosted by Oluwashola. The Book in review was titled The Essence of Life by David Ogbueli.

As each person reviewed the Chapter read, I discovered that the three different kinds of life correlate well with the three different kinds of people, viz:

3 Kinds of Life
3 Kinds of People
1. The wasted life
1. Watchers or observers
2. The spent life
2. History commentators or critics
3. The invested life
3. History makers or world changers

The wasted life coasts about from birth to death without adding value to others or self. The philosophy of the wasted life is “whatever will be, will be.”  The kind of people who live this life, just watch or observe events, more like by-standers and take in what goes on without making any contribution to influence and/or impact society. This wasted life is the example of an employee who joins the organisation, and does not seem to know why they are working in the organisation other than to earn a salary month on month. This employee is engaged in presenteeism – just showing up daily without necessarily accomplishing great things that would help the organisation actualise its vision. This employee is not exploring their hidden talent and potential. This is a highly disengaged employee.

The spent life is what I call a “ME ONLY” life.  This is an egocentric life that lives for self alone without being beneficial to others around. This life correlates with people whose preoccupation is to comment on things happening as well as criticising every other person except themselves. They engage in talk with no corresponding action to help change the situation. The spent life could be likened to an employee whose interest at work is “what is in it for me” without regards to whether the organisation is making any progress or achieving its mission and vision. This is a disengaged employee.

Using the farming analogy, when you sow a seed into the ground, it germinates and grows, sometimes into a big tree producing fruits to feed people. This is a perfect example of the invested life, and a history maker or world changer. The invested life empowers others to become like itself or even better, thereby making history and changing the world for the greater good. Employees who are highly committed in their jobs at work, looking for opportunities to solve problems, and taking on more responsibilities which eventually lead to making the company they work for stand out are classical examples of these kind of life and people. Have you seen one who is ever ready to mentor, coach and sponsor other employees? The resultant impact on the business is phenomenal, and the impact also on the invested employee is extra-phenomenal. An example of a highly engaged employee without doubt!

Living a life of purpose here on earth is the essence of our life, and organisations are looking to attract, develop and retain employees who understand their purpose in life. As you begin your journey in 2019, aim to live an invested life, be a history maker and world changer!

Share with me in the comments section, how and what you are doing to make a difference in the life of people and organisations you work for.

#HRwithEM… Your HR encyclopedia!
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About The Author
Emmanuel Michael is a 100 Most Influential Global HR Leader 2018, Author, Public Speaker, Mentor, Founder & Host of #HRwithEM. You can connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


  1. Wow!This is awesome. Linking 3kinds of Life to 3kinds of People and 3kinds of Employees. Another concept just emerged- Engaged, disengaged and sitting on the fence employee. A purpose driven life is a self aware life and intrinsically motivated. Such employees are normally engaged. I choose to live an invested life. Empowering people with job opportunities, coaching and training young professionals in my field and inspiring people to be more and do more. Thank you EM, you are amazing.

    1. Thank you Shola for the kind comments and opportunity to participate in the Book Review. #HRwithEM

  2. Uniquely amazing! More creative juice sir!

  3. Wao, this is awesome and wonderful. Another fantastic perspective to 'The Essence of Life'.

  4. Beautiful! Thoughtfully linked to our daily work styles. I engage in constant learning in order to become a consultant in what I do for my organisation; hence making my organisation stand out and as well help others grow and become better. Thank you EM for this insight.

    1. Thank you Ogechi for sharing what you are doing to live an invested life. Keep it up, as in due time, your reward will show. #HRwithEM

  5. This is deeply insightful.

    Thank you for always contributing to the society positively.

    We appreciate you.

  6. Thank you Emmanuel for this summary and liking it to the workplace. We ordinarily should live our life to be remembered for the value we have added to people around us and the impact we make in our society. I pray to live an invested life, so help me God.

    1. Thank you Jessica. I am glad that the piece resonates well with you. #HRwithEM

  7. This is very true and I find it very insightful.Thanks for the analysis... Abimbola

    1. Thank you Abimbola. I am glad that you found this piece insightful. #HRwithEM

  8. Mojisola OlubummoMay 9, 2019 at 5:17 AM

    Most appreciated EM. I go beyond my work, to encourage people to find reason to live. I make myself accessible and prioritise my staff emotional needs. I empathize with them, be on top of their list to call when they have issues. I believe if their emotion can find expression, contributing their quota at work will be easier.

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