Follow Your River by Earl Nightingale

I was watching a video by Elliott Hustle where he was sharing a story of how he started. Elliott Hustle is a man who is famous on YouTube for sharing his ideas on self development and becoming the best person you can be. He told the story of how he started, broke, nearly bankrupt and eventually becoming one of the most popular YouTube influencers in the world. What changed him was an article he read by Earl Nightingale called Follow Your River.

I then decided to research what this article was all about. I found the article “Follow Your River” on the Nightingale Conant website and began reading. All I can say is wow. It’s a fantastic article and will share it with you below.

The Big Idea Behind Follow Your River

Earl Nightingale was one of the original icons of personal development. This was way before Tony Robbins and even Jim Rohn. He started off being curious about why people become successful so he spent countless hours in libraries reading about success. He studied successful people and learned how they think. Eventually, years later, his work in personal development was picked up by millions around the world.

The speech “The Strangest Secret” recorded by Earl Nightingale himself had influenced millions of people. You can find it on YouTube.

The basic idea behind Follow Your River is that there are two types of successful people in the world. There’s the goal oriented people and there’s the river people.

The goal oriented people are the ones who simply set goals, move towards them in a sequential path and then eventually achieving their goal.

The river people are the ones who discover what their true talents and gifts are and throw themselves 100% into the river letting it take them where ever they go. The river people such as Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham discovered what their talents were and threw themselves whole heartedly into it. Eventually this spawned in all sorts of creations that the world has adopted.

Another river person is Steve Jobs. He never did it for the money. He did it all for creating great work. He never cared about how much money people made in their lives, he only cared about what they created. The amount of passion, love and care he put into creating the Mac is self evident. As a result, he changed the world.

Wouldn’t it be grand if we could all discover our true gifts early on in our lives and throw ourselves into it 100%? Wouldn’t the world be a better place fi we all followed our own rivers?

I recently watched a video by a 17 year old who was rapping in a music video. There was something about his lyrics and rapping that made him truly unique. His video was shared and went viral immediately reaching millions of viewers. I was awes-trucked by his talent and of course, later found out that he was picked up by music agencies to propose a record deal. He followed his river.

My River

After reading Earl Nightgale’s article “Follow Your River” it made me think of what my river is. I think I found it after reflecting over the past 10 years. I’ve noticed that the one constant thing that I do regardless of whether it makes money or not is writing. I’m always writing something and I really love structure of words. How words can influence people and how it becomes art. To me, writing is an art form. It’s a play of words and also how powerful it can be if you use it correctly.

I’m truly amazed on how my writing has influenced the lives of others. I’ve also come across my fair share of haters too. However, writing has never changed over the years and I think this is my river. Just recently I wrote a book and published it on Amazon. I was really happy seeing my latest book on Amazon (only took me 1 month to write it) and after publishing it, I wanted to publish another book as soon as possible.

I then went through my old hard drives and found various writings and ebooks I wrote that never went to market. These books I wrote on finance, goal setting, public speaking, I never published them because I never bothered to share them. I really enjoyed writing and creating great books and that was enough for me.

Knowing that I wrote books and never shared them made me realise that writing is my river. I just lose track of time and throw myself into writing. I guess I’m really fortunate to have this passion in writing for whenever I read people’s comments that they struggle with writing, I’m thankful I have this gift.

Just like rappers who release their mix tapes and music to the world, I release my writings and my books to the world.

We all have gifts and we all have talents. It’s up to us to find out what it is and throw ourselves into the river and let it takes us where it needs to go.

Stay Strong and Be Relentless.

Khoa Bui

Here is the article:

Follow Your River Article by: Earl Nightingale

“There are two distinct kinds of successful people. There are what I call the river people and the goal people. Let’s take a good look at the river people. River people are those fortunate people who find themselves born to perform a special task. Mozart and da Vinci were river people. There are thousands of river people living today. They’re the people who know from childhood what they want to do with their lives.

River people seem born to spend their lives in pursuit of their interest. And they throw themselves into their rivers 100 percent, busying themselves with whatever it happens to be. They don’t tend to think about the idea of success or the making of money; they simply spend their lives doing the best they can in their river of interest. And they’re often responsible for some of the largest achievements and institutions on earth.

We all know the stories of Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison. The businesses that have grown from their inventions encircle the globe and are among the largest on the planet. Einstein was such a person, of course, but there are thousands of them that we never hear of. They are people who would be perfectly content in their fields of interest with only a modest maintenance diet and a roof over their heads. Their work is everything. But because they usually render a very valuable service in the performance of their work, be it in the arts or sports or commerce, they’re usually well rewarded for their efforts, though they may struggle for years before recognition and success come to them.

Dr. Abraham Maslow talked about such people. He said, “One could say a good match is like the perfect love affair or friendship in which it seems that people belong to each other and were meant for each other. In the best instances, the person and his job fit together and belong together perfectly, like a key in a lock, or perhaps resonate together like a sung note which sits in a sympathetic resonance, a particular string on a piano keyboard.” And Maslow said, “Simply as a matter of the strategy and tactics of living well and fully, and of choosing one’s life instead of having it determined for us, this is a help.”

It’s so easy to forget ultimates in the rush and hurry of daily life, especially for young people. So often, we’re merely responders, 

so to speak, simply reacting to stimuli, to rewards and punishments, to emergencies, to pains and fears, to demands of other people, to superficialities. It takes a specific, conscious effort, at least at first, to turn one’s attention to intrinsic things and values. Perhaps seeking actual physical aloneness. Perhaps exposing one’s self to great music, to good people, to natural beauty, and so forth. Only after practice do these strategies become easy and automatic so that one can be living totally immersed in his or her river.

I believe that each of us, because of the way our genetic heritage is stacked, has an area of great interest. And it’s that area that we should explore with the patience and assiduity of a paleontologist on an important dig where it’s a region of great potential. Somewhere within it, we can find that avenue of interest that so perfectly matches our natural abilities, we’ll be able to make our greatest contribution and spend our lives in work we love.

If we can find our river of interest, we need only throw ourselves into it, fully committed, and there spend our days learning and growing and finding new emerging fields of interest within its boundaries.”

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Author: Khoa Bui

Khoa Bui is an author, trainer and chief editor of YouBeRelentless. He enjoys reading books on self development, success, productivity, money, relationships and leadership. When he's not writing, he likes to enjoy a glass of red wine with a fine cuban cigar while watching the entire season of Entourage. You can check out Khoa's work at

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