The Five People You Will Meet On Earth – and BEWARE !


My parady of Mitch Albom’s ‘The Five People You Meet In Heaven’

The Negators

The Negators enjoy picking on every little mistake that people makes. Just because if someone does something differently from what they usually do, they would be deemed ‘stupid’ by the Negators. The Negators enjoy spending most of their time finding the faults of others rather than to see the strengths in everyone. Personally, they would also concentrate on their weaknesses relative to others. By focusing on all the negative aspects of life, they will continue to attract more negative events along the way. Our focus is our reality and after a period of time, they would find that the world is ‘indeed’ a very unfair place. When they share their personal stories with you, they would also hope that you share your sad stories too. This would convince them that life is a vacuum – ‘it sucks’.

When dealing with a Negator, think totally the opposite! Almost every problem can be a potential opportunity, depending on the perspective that one adopts. You may start to see things that a Negator has miss out totally.

The Mr. OKs

When Mr. OK meets a successful person, he starts to learn how to be one. But when Mr. OK meets an unsuccessful person, he also starts to learn how to be one. Mr. OK believes the last person he sees each time is the one he should follow. No objections from a Mr. OK for the salesman could mean the best and worse thing. It is either Mr. OK is so impressed by the benefits of the plan that he is OK-OK-OK to everything, or that Mr. OK doesn’t mind buying anything from you, how good how bad. Of course, needless to say, Mr. OK would also not mind refunding his purchase right after buying. Seemingly illogical behavior is often associated with Mr. OKs. Because Mr. OKs always follow the plans of others, be it successful or unsuccessful people, they always end up nowhere, as they abandon every good or poor plan halfway. In short, they will always succeed or fail halfway through. They are consistently inconsistent and predictably unpredictable.

When having a Mr. OK as a team member, do not put too much weight in his words. Expect the unexpected. At best, uncover what Mr. OK truly values and see if you can offer what he wants. The importance of reinforcement and reassurance here cannot be over emphasized with Mr. OKs.

The Detractors

Not only would Detractors never be successful themselves, they would also help the people around them to be unsuccessful too. If you don’t know where you are heading in life, they would teach you how to- head nowhere. In short, their goal in life is to – have no goals. They are very scary people to mix around with. Procrastination is one their favorite pastime. On the bright side, although they probably can’t write a book on how to succeed, they could teach you valuable lessons on how to fail for sure in life. They can show you 101 ways where you could put in massive amounts of efforts and get no results. Some of the Detractors that we can spot in our daily life are those who not only doesn’t have a sense of urgency in life, but also stand in the way of other people who wants to succeed. When moving up an escalator, we can find Detractors standing on the isolated side of the escalators nonchalantly, blocking the side of the path for the faster commuters.

Unless you can be sure you can bring the Detractors back on the ‘right’ track without getting yourself ‘derailed’, avoid them at all cost!

The Instant Gratifiers

Alright, over here, procrastination is never a problem with the Instant Gratifiers. Their motto- ‘Act first. Think later (if at all).’ The Instant Gratifiers always seek to maximize current pleasure and consumption without regard to its consequences. They are best friends to credit card companies. Since they believe that they have no ‘future’, don’t expect them to come up with any plan the day after tomorrow, as they live like there’s no tomorrow to begin with. If you are someone who enjoys ups and downs in life more than the average person, make good friends with them. You will learn to enjoy and suffer more than ever before. Give a Mr. Gratifier a fish, you feed him for a day; Teach a Mr. Instant Gratifier to fish, you also feed him for a day. Their lack of discipline ensures nothing comes out of it in the long run. Most things in life are an ongoing process and short-term gains are often at the expense of long-term benefits.

Instant Gratifiers however, can be valuable team members if the project is of short-term nature and one-off task. They would seek how to make the best out of every situation to put their team in the best possible position.

The Mr. Planners

Now this is interesting. The Mr. Planner is somewhat the opposite of the detractors. They have goals. They have plans. For themselves. As well as for you. The Mr. Planner would try to get you into doing what they want you to. If you do not have a plan in life, they would have one ready for you. Unfortunately, it isn’t one meant to benefit you. Unlike the Detractors, they do not lead you to becoming an unsuccessful person, but rather, they would help you to help them to become successful. In extreme cases, a Mr. Planner might disguised himself as someone who would like to help you to get what you want, only to end up realizing that it is the other way round. Always fully understand why you are doing certain things. Is it for their own selfish wants, or is it a mutually beneficial relationship? A win-win situation is often possible but a Mr. Planner would not mind a win(him)-loss(you) situation, if you don’t mind too.

However, if we have a Mr. Planner who truly plans and works towards a win-win scenario for all, he could probably be one of the best collaborators to have. This would be rare of course, but not impossible though.


This article is not written to put any kind of people down, but rather, to prepare ourselves for different scenarios of handling people should they arise. In any case, some of us may used to be one of these or still is.

Personally, it is my belief that we should come to see the best in everyone and everything. For people, even if we end up meeting people that we do not wish to, there are still perhaps, things that we can learn from them. Chances are, there is a purpose to everything in life. We can learn how to deal with difficult people even better, socially and emotionally, putting ourselves in a better position. For situations, always seek make the best out of the worst.

Just like the serenity prayer,

‘God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.’

Simply focus on the things we can change in our lives, and try not to dwell too much on things that fall beyond our control. It is a whole lot more productive if we spend our time and energy on things that we can change to make it even better rather than to get ourselves frustrated and demoralized by trying to change things not within our reach.

Article written by Keith Ng

21 May 2008


~ by Keith Ng on May 21, 2008.

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