There are two types of people professionals are typically categorized as: the strategist and the opportunist. For some, becoming a strategist is a life goal to have a plan consistently in mind. For others, becoming an opportunist to take on life’s challenges is the way to lean towards. Whichever way you choose, there are positives and negatives, however one has a vision and the other has an opportunity.


Strategists are known for the time, money and energy that is spent in order to reach their vision. Strategists focus on planning in order to achieve their goals. They spend a lot of energy trying new things and learning from their mistakes in order to come with a comeback. Opportunists, however, tend to be seen as the more relaxed type of professional. However, the return on investment that an opportunists receives is much less than that of a strategists.


Opportunists focus on short term goals and objectives. They live day by day, or rather in the moment. Opportunists go with the flow, therefore there is not much planning and goal outlining that time is spent on. An opportunist may spend many hours or days working on a project or idea, but once it is over, they look for a new opportunity. Others may hop from one opportunity to the next, leaving their past short term goals hanging.


Strategists stick to their long term goals and stay on the path to achieve them. If a good opportunity comes up, a strategist typically won’t abandon their life goals, but instead find a way to make it outweigh the opportunity. Strategists also have to work on developing a variety of skills such as time management, organization and decision making. Opportunists tend not to know what they want or what they’re looking for hence, taking longer time to make decisions, being unorganized, and are up in the air about their goals. This makes opportunists hard to trust as they don’t put as much effort and care into a job compared to a strategist. A strategists puts forth their all, and will not allow fear or excuses to stop their dreams. An opportunist will seek a way around the hard work and fear in order to escape the challenges and hardships of their goals.


Companies tend to look for strategists as they take the time to hire, train and learn more about an individual. As all strategists know, time is money, therefore they take careful considerations into the investments they make, whether it is money or people. Strategists are trustworthy and typically seen as an asset to a company. Opportunists tend to bounce around and becoming unorganized in the way they do do their work. If you want to ultimately succeed, create a vision of becoming a strategist and practice habits that will contribute to your long term growth, rather than short term.


So which is better? There’s no easy answer, and like most things in life, the strongest approach combines the best of all the options. I myself am truly a mix of both strategist and opportunist, and I believe it’s worth representing each strength. If you know you are a strategist, bring in a strong second to support you who is a natural opportunist. If you are a leader in a larger company, surround yourself with a mix of both so that you always know you are receiving balanced, thorough advice and perspectives.