Everyday we have dozens of chances to be either proactive or reactive. How are these different? Well, reactive people make choices based on impulse, like a can of coke when bad things happen and they get shaken, the pressure builds and they explode.
For example, a reactive person is driving down the highway and a truck cuts him / her off. Suddenly he / she has to slam on the breaks. Next he runs off at the mouth, calling the truck driver all the names under the sun, he follows up by flashing his headlights, honking his horn, and giving the driver the finger. The reactive person carries the experience with him all day fuming about how stupid the driver is and how the jerk should not be allowed on the road. Consequently the reactive person’s day goes down hill and one bad thing after another happens. This person may lose his / her job, have an accident or hurt himself. At the end of the day he / she is drained and full of negative energy. They hate everyone and everything and they are the victim. Not a good place to be.
The proactive person makes his / her choices based on values. He thinks before he acts. This person is like still water, life can shake him all it wants and he remains the same. He is clam, cool and keeps his emotions under control. Lets put the proactive person into the same example, the proactive person is driving down the highway and the truck driver cuts him off. Instead of getting bent out of shape emotionally he smiles and thinks that was the Universe is testing me to see if my mind and body are together. I past that test. Hope that truck driver gets where he is going safely.
Another way you can spot the difference between a proactive and reactive person is by the language we use.
Reactive language: I’ll try, That’s just the way I am! There is nothing I can do. I have to. You suck.
Proactive language: I’ll do it. I can do better than that. What are the options? I choose to. I am responsible for the things that happen in my life.
It is much better to be proactive. These people are very special.
They don’t get offended easily. They take responsibility for the choices they make. They think before they act. When bad things happen to them they pick themselves up, brush off the dust and carry right on with what they have to do. They always find a way to get the job done. They concentrate on the things they can do and they don’t spend time worrying about the things they can’t do.
Which is easier, to be reactive or proactive? Of course it is much easier to be reactive. It’s easy to cry like a baby, loose control, blame others, to look for the easy way. Back stab others to make yourself look good. But being proactive is the higher path!
So how can we change from being reactive to being proactive? The first step is to want to change. Then we have to accept that the change will not happen over night, it is going to to take time and effort. Remember no one is perfect. We have to make a new habit of being proactive. Try taking small steps first. Example, your boss asks you to finish a report by a certain time tonight. It means you having to work later and you had planned to watch a footaball game on TV. You can feel the resistance swelling up inside. How do you respond? React by getting upset and making a drama out of the situation. Or take a deep breath think how a proactive person would respond and just do it. Job done. Your boss is happy and you feel good. If sometime you slip up and react just let it go and try again later. Another good idea is to keep a journal and write down both the times youo were proactive and the times you reacted and this will help you see your progress. Until next time I wish you peace, happiness and success. Martin sensei