The definition of proactivity is often mistaken for simply taking initiative and getting ahead of things. It’s not. It’s about so much more. Let’s put it like this: If you get pissed off by the rain or blame others for your circumstances, well – then you’re not proactive. So, what is proactivity?
So, what is proactivity? Let’s start by making one thing clear. Proactivity is a good thing. You want to be proactive. Proactive humans are more successful opposed to reactive people who’ll never be able to function on the same high level.
Proactivity is about responsibility
Proactive humans take responsibility for their own lives. They are not defined by their conditions. They’re defined by their decisions. They accept the cards they have been dealt to them, and then they act upon them.
They don’t let outside forces control their day, mood or plans. Stephen R. Coveydescribed it like this, “Look at the word responsibility— “response-ability” —the ability to choose your response.”
In other words, we’re free to choose our response to any situation.
When we accept responsibility, we take back control. There are many factors in our daily life that we can’t control—like the rain. It’s normal to prefer sunny days, but if you get upset about things like the rain, you’re simply letting yourself being controlled by outside forces. It’s forces you ‘ll never be able to do anything about. If situations like this effect you; you’re letting them empower you and you become reactive.
The difference between proactive and reactive people
Every action and response is a choice. When you say yes to something, you’re also saying no to another. Even if you think you’re not making an active choice, big shocker, you are. Reactive people allows themselves to be controlled by physical environments and social environments.
This is going to come as a big surprise, so hold on: the same things happen to proactive and reactive people, but the difference is that proactive people decide to act based on their internalized values.
Proactive people like the sun too. They like to put on sunglasses, a cute little summer hat and feel the sun on their skin just as much. But in the end, the weather doesn’t make any difference to their response to the day. They function the same way on sunny and rainy days.
The same goes for their social environment. Proactive people also prefers nice behaviour over bad behaviour. They like it too when other people treat them well. The difference is that if someone don’t—they don’t let it affect them. It doesn’t mean they don’t have an emotional response, but they move past it. Why? Because their behaviour is controlled by values.
To take it a step further, Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can hurt you without your consent.” It’s true that we’re in control of our responses, but this doesn’t mean proactive humans doesn’t have emotions. They do. They just choose how they respond to them.
We’re each given circumstances, but it’s our response to the circumstances that define us.