Investors vs. Box Checkers

Julie - Canton, Michigan
Entered on May 27, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50

It has become increasingly clear to me that people fall into one of two important categories…investors or box checkers. “Investors” are people who have solid core beliefs and make their life decisions based on those beliefs. They are dedicated to those they love and the things they love. They “invest” themselves in their lives and are loyal, “deep” people who seek greater meaning in their lives and look for lessons in what they experience. “Box checkers” are people who want the world to believe they have it together and really care about people and issues but are mostly interested in doing things so they can say they did them. Rarely do “box checkers” dedicate themselves to issues, people, or causes in any real way and often find themselves standing on many sides of the proverbial fence depending on the issue at hand or the person they are talking to at the time. “Box checkers” often disappoint those around them when it becomes evident that they are more interested in doing something for sake of literally “checking the box” to say they did it, not because they really care or believe it is the right thing to do.

Suffice it to say that my life experiences, both personally and professionally, over the past year have brought forth this revelation. After being hurt by people close to me in what seemed like a clear-cut situation, I found myself having one of my favorite kinds of conversations—the kind that search for deeper meaning and lesson in life. I remember looking squarely at the red and white check tablecloth in a Florida restaurant when these categories for people came to me over dinner and seemed to make sense. It helped me to frame the issues I was dealing with and make sense of the actions people had taken around me. Since this day and this conversation I find myself going back to this topic quite often and easily putting people whom I meet and interact with into one of these two categories. Fair or not, it makes sense to me. It keeps it real for me and helps me to see people for who they are and the capacity they have for dealing with certain issues. Mostly though it keeps me from being disappointed by people when they show me who they are and it turns out to be something I wish they weren’t. I challenge you to think about this in your own life and see if makes sense to you too.