Three Kinds of People


There are many versions of “Three Kinds of People.” One I’ve often liked was:

  1. Those who make things happen
  2. Those who watch things happen
  3. Those who ask, “What just happened?”

Of course, I’d like to think of myself as the first! This saying probably came originally from Benjamin franklin who said:

All mankind is divided into three groups: those that are immovable, those that are movable and those that move.” — Benjamin Franklin

But there are other theories about “three kinds of people.” Maybe you’ve heard:

There are three kinds of people in the world: those who can’t stand Picasso, those who can’t stand Raphael, and those who’ve never heard of either of them. — John White

Or the more modern version:

Today, there are three kinds of people: the have’s, the have-not’s, and the have-not-paid-for-what-they-have’s. — Earl Wilson

A recent up-date to the first above put it this way:

There are three kinds of people in the world, the wills, the won’ts, and the can’ts. The first accomplish everything; the second oppose everything, the third fail in everything – Eclectic Magazine

Robert Schulle added a fourth:

There are basically four kinds of people: cop-outs, hold-outs, drop-outs, and all-outs.

It’s time I added my own to sage collection. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard anyone else divide the world’s populace this way, so I will dare claim to be the first – though I may certainly be wrong! But as I am up late continuing to attempt to clean up my home office and get organized for 2008 I am reminded again of my oft quoted summary of the three kinds of people in the world, quoting myself of course:

There are three kinds of people in the world. Those who are neat and like it neat. Those who are messy and like it messy. And those who are messy but like it neat. – Karl Bastian

I unfortunately am of the sad third group. I’ve been blessed to know many neat people who’ve lives are always in order and they like it that way. I also know many happy slobs who live joyful lives oblivious to the disaster and danger that surrounds them. God bless them both! (I have yet to meet a neat person who likes it messy!)

But I am, to my dimise and doom, a person who loves it neat – perfers that everything have a place and everything be in its place – but am quite in capable of living up to my own impossible standard. My environments tend to either be ready to be photographed for some magazine of the Life Styles of Neat and Orderly, but before the pictures can be snapped it somehow mysteriously quickly returnes to Life Styles of the Disorganized with Paper Stacks Everywhere. Why oh Why do I want an immaculate office so badly when I am so utterly terrible at keeping it so?

What a wretched man I am!

In the end I supposed Edward A. Murphy, Jr. of “Murphy’s Law” is right after all, there are only two types of people:

Those who divide people into two types, and those who don’t.

But I will close with only one more way to divide the world:

  1. Those who don’t read my blog.
  2. Those who do read my blog.
  3. Those who read my blog and leave a comment!

Guess which my favorite is?

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  1. I read it and left this note. Barney

  2. I tend to want everything cross-referenced, alphabatized, and accessable. And since I rarely have the time to do all that, I end up leaving everything in a clutter. Sigh. What my wife doesn’t understand is that I might need that collection of poems I wrote in the 7th grade or that mid-term college paper on whether Paul wrote to the northern or southern region of Galatia.

  3. Hi Karl:
    Creative people are messy…I’ve come to accept that about myself and you should too…..I read a quote somewhere this past week that might be comforting in your struggle….

    “Organized people are just too lazy to look for things!”

    I thought it was funny and I use often when people comment on my messy office. :o)

  4. I am reading and instead of a pointless comment I will say…

    What did you think of the update to the iPhone today? I thought it was WONDERFUL!!
    What do you think of the MacBook Air?? I would never buy one, but the technology is mind boggling!

  5. The worls is dived into 3 types of person:
    1 the one who owns a Microsoft
    2 the one one owns a Mac
    3 The one who owns a microsoft but wishes to have a MAc!

    I’m the 3rd. kind of person!


  6. There are three types of people in this world:
    Those who can count,
    and those who can’t.

  7. I would change your last line
    3. Those who read my blog and leave a comment!

    Those who read my blog and leave a comment (that is contributing a thought to my article) !

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