Are you a builder or a discoverer?

If life for the builders is a bit of the forced march with blueprint in hand, for discoverers it is a stroll along a path

By Robert Taibbi (Mind Reader)

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Published: Tue 22 Aug 2017, 10:13 PM

Last updated: Wed 23 Aug 2017, 12:15 AM

Even if we may have trouble clearly articulating it, we each have a view and relationship with our lives, specifically how we go about thinking what we are to do with this stretch of time before us. We can break it down, I think, into two major approaches - the builders and the discoverers.
Builders, as the label implies, build. Life is to create something, something tangible. You start with little or nothing perhaps, but then you plan and assemble and . build. In my view, America is very builder-oriented. You have roughly 40 years between 20-60 to make something of yourself. Ready, set, go!
Builders usually have clear objectives in mind, a concrete sense of where they want to be at the finish line. Make law partner and a million dollars or a be a judge; start their own start-up and reap the rewards of something grand. Or maybe not be work-oriented, but be just a focused, driven parent who wants to have three kids who will all turn out to be successful in their own way, a good home, a contented life. But in building nonetheless, you take the same approach of taking aim, plotting a course, making sure you make the right choices and hit those goals by the finish line.
Builders can feel good when things fall into place. And when they don't, the obstacles are seen as challenges. They can get excited and inspired, but at times also myopic, seeing only what is three feet in front of them and little else. They can also be self-critical and hard on themselves. As these builders near mid-life and see that they may not accomplish what they set to do at the start, the dangers are that they can become depressed, realising they are running out of time, or maybe have left too much of themselves out in the quest and have become too one-dimensional.
If life for the builders is a bit of the forced march with blueprint in hand, for discoverers it is more of a stroll along a path. They have goals, a direction that they follow at the start, but they are not averse to exploring side-roads, are curious about what may lie around the next bend.
As with builders, the name says it all - life is to be discovered: the clear course is not always clear, the obstacles along the path are less challenges to confront and more signs that maybe there is another route that is better. Failure isn't about self-criticism, but life telling you that this path isn't the one for you; time to try another.
But just as builders may feel a bit of panic as they near midlife or older and worry that their dreams will never be fulfilled, discoverers can panic and worry that maybe they have drifted a bit too much, that their stroll maybe should have been more of a determined march, that they don't have much solid to show for their travel as the near the finish line.
One approach is not better than the other. Both builders and discoverers may each decide at midlife to switch gears and adapt the other's perspective. Builders may slow down to smell the roses.
Likewise, discoverers may realise they have little time left to get things done. They hustle because they want to build something that can, for them, be a solid measure of their lives.
The space between their two perspectives is actually the combining of each - having the blueprints and clear vision of the builder, but also keeping your ear close to the ground of yourself. Marching ahead, but periodically stopping to assess the terrain, to see if the path is still the path you want to follow.
So who are you? What side do you lean towards? Are there any adjustments, any course corrections you need to make right now?
-Psychology Today
Robert Taibbi is a graduate of Rutgers University and is author of 10 books

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