A former co-worker gave me the book "Outwitting the Devil: The Secret to Freedom and Success" by Napolean Hill and it is an amazing read! Below I share Hill's description of drifters vs non-drifters and how to overcome the habit of drifting.
What is a drifter you might be thinking? Read this excerpt below (Note: Hill writes "Outwitting the Devil" as him asking questions to the devil, this interview style narrative has made for a really interesting read).
Q Who are some of the present day non-drifters over whom you have no control?
A I have control over no non-drifter, present or past. I control the weak, not those who think for themselves.
In Hill's eyes, a drifter is anyone who doesn't think for themselves. Someone who goes with the flow. In an earlier part of the book Hill says drifters are those who are
"too lazy and too indifferent to think for themselves."
To continue with Hill's interview with the devil, the devil defines
Q Go ahead and describe a typical drifter. Give your description point by point so I can recognize a drifter when I see him.
A The first thing you will notice about a drifter is his total lack of major purpose in life.
He will be conspicuous by his lack of self-confidence .
He will never accomplish anything requiring thought and effort.
He spends all he earns and more too, if he can get credit.
He will be sick or ailing from some real or imaginary cause, and calling him to high heaven if he suffers the least physical pain.
He will have little or no imagination.
He will lack enthusiasm and initiative to begin anything he is not forced to undertake, and he will plainly express his weakness by taking the line of least resistance whenever he can do so.
He will be ill-tempered and lacking in control over his emotions.
His personality will be without magnetism and it will not attract other people.
He will have opinions on everything but accurate knowledge of nothing.
He may be a jack of all trades but good at none.
He will neglect to cooperate with those around him, even on those he must depend on for food and shelter.
He will make the same mistake over and over again, never profiting by failure.
He will be narrow-minded and intolerant on all subjects, ready to crucify those who may disagree with him.
He will expect everything of others but be willing to give little or nothing in return.
He may being many things but he will complete nothing.
He may begin many things but he will complete nothing.
He will be loud in his condemnation of his government, but he will never tell you definitely how it can be improved.
He will never reach decisions on anything if he can avoid it, and if he is forced to decide he will reverse himself at the first opportunity.
He will eat too much and exercise too little.
He will take a drink of liquor if someone else will pay for it.
He will gamble if can do it "on the cuff."
He will criticize others who are succeeding in their chosen calling.
In brief, the drifter will work harder to get out of thinking than most others work in earning a good living.
He will tell a lie rather than admit his ignorance on any subject.
If he works for others, he will criticize them to their backs and flatter them to their faces.
Do these points describe you? I'm sure they describe people you know, but focus on yourself. Alternatively, here's the excerpt about a non-drifter
Q You have given me a graphic description of the drifter. Please now describe the non-drifter so that I may recognize him on sight.
A The first sign of a non-drifter is this: He is always engaged in doing something definite, through some well-organized plan which is definite. He has a major goal in life toward which he is always working, and many minor goals, all of which lead toward his central scheme.
The tone of his voice, the quickness of his step, the sparkle in his eyes, the quickness of his decisions clearly mark him as a person who knows exactly what eh wants and is determined to get it, no matter how long it may take or what price he must pay.
If you ask him questions, he gives you direct answers and never falls back on evasions or resorts to subterfuge.
He extends many favors to others, but accepts favors sparingly or not at all.
He will be found up front whether he is playing a game or fighting a war.
If he does not know the answer he will say so frankly.
He has a good memory; never offers an alibi for his shortcomings.
He never blames others for his mistakes no matter if they deserve the blame.
He used to be known as a go-getter, but in modern times he is called a go-giver. You will find him running the biggest business in town, living on the best street, driving the best automobile, and making his presence felt wherever he happens to be.
He is an aspiration to all who come into contact with his mind.
The major distinguishing feature of the non-drifter is this:
He has a mind of his own and uses it for all purposes.
Does this description of a non-drifter apply to you? Does this description explain people you now?
How do you stop being a drifter? Let's continue with another excerpt from the book,
Q Your Majesty has given me a clear description of drifting. Tell me what must be done against the habit of drifting. I want a complete formula that anyone can use.
A Protection against drifting lies within easy reach of every human being who has a normal body and a sound mind. The self-defense can be applied through these simple methods:
1. Do your own thinking on all occasions. The fact that human beings are given complete control over nothing save the power to think their own thoughts is laden with significance.
2. Decide definitely what you want from life; then create a plan for attaining it and be willing to sacrifice everything else, if necessary, rather than accept permanent defeat.
3. Analyze temporary defeat, no matter of what nature or cause, and extract from it the seed of an equivalent advantage.
4. Be willing to render useful service equivalent to the value of all material things you demand of life, and render the service first.
5. Recognize that your brain is a receiving set that can be attuned to receive communications from the universal store-house of Infinite Intelligence, to help you transmute your desires into their physical equivalent.
6. Recognize that your greatest asset is time, the only thing except the power of thought which you own outright, and the one thing which can be shaped into whatever material things you want. Budget your time so that none of it is wasted.
7. Recognize the truth that fear generally is a filler with which the the Devil occupies the unused portion of your mind. It is only a state of mind which you can control by filling the space it occupies with faith in your ability to make life provide you with whatever you demand of it.
8. [omitted by me, the blogger, checkout the book if you really wanna know it...]
9. Recognize that life is a cruel task master and that either you master it or it masters you. There is no half-way or compromising point. Never accept from life anything you do not want. If that which you do not want is temporarily forced upon you, you can refuse, in your own mind, to accept it and it will make way for the thing you do not want
10. Lastly, remember that your dominating thoughts attract, through a definite law of nature, by the shortest and most convenient route, their physical counterpart. Be careful what your thoughts dwell upon.
I don't recommend books much but "Outwitting the Devil: The Secret to Freedom and Success" is one heck of an interesting book that was apparently written more than 70 years ago. It's one of the few books I think everyone should read!