In life, some people go with the flow and some people choose their own path. These two attitudes are called reactive and proactive.
Proactivity is considered one of the elements of productivity and the key to achieving success and harmony. Proactive people do not need external guidance, they make their own decisions and actions and are willing to take responsibility for them. In contrast, reactive people blame others for their failures and take a passive approach to problems and change. Therefore, it is the proactive attitude that is desired in every area of life. So how to develop it?
What is proactivity?
In humanistic psychology, the term proactivity means a conscious reaction of a person to stimuli from the external world. In other words, it is a conscious desire to influence the events, phenomena and processes occurring around him. A proactive person is able to choose for himself how to react to this or that event or situation. He or she does so on the basis of analysis and careful evaluation rather than impulse and emotion.
Proactivity is not easy – it requires the ability to anticipate and consider different options for events, to make important and informed decisions, and to take responsibility for one’s entire life.
In his book “7 habits of effective action” Stephen Covey points out that external factors in the life of each person can be divided into two spheres, the so-called circles – the circle of influence (internal) and the circle of interest (external). The former defines those factors over which we have influence and the latter those that are beyond our control. A proactive person focuses on accomplishing the tasks in the circle of influence, while a reactive person devotes more attention to complaining about those factors that they cannot change.
The benefits of a proactive attitude
Being proactive in any area of life significantly increases our performance and leads to success. Going with the flow is much easier than struggling, but it is through struggling that we can achieve what we want and realize our dreams.
Stephen Covey considers proactivity as an essential skill of highly effective people. In his book, the author lists such advantages of a proactive attitude as:
- the ability to set goals and achieve them;
- a responsible approach to one’s life;
- understanding that no matter what happens, we have a choice;
- awareness of one’s own free will;
- developing creative thinking and imagination in finding solutions.
How to develop a proactive attitude?
Proactivity is a definitely desirable trait and characteristic of successful people. Fortunately, you can work on it and develop the right habits. Here are some tips on how to achieve it and what to pay attention to.
Act within your circle of influence
If you want to become more proactive, you should think about what is in your circle of influence. Don’t waste valuable time with anger, resentment and other negative emotions. Instead, ask yourself, can you make a difference? If you can, think about how. Do this every time you encounter a problem. You’ll quickly notice that you approach them more calmly, all your efforts directed toward finding solutions.
Try to assess each situation from different perspectives, try to predict the development of events and assess what you can do at the moment and with your current resources. Also analyze your own reactions and thinking. Draw conclusions from your own experiences, learn from your mistakes and ask questions that will lead you to solutions.
Manage your time properly
If you want to be more proactive, set yourself smaller and bigger goals and define what you need to achieve them, then achieve them. Plan ahead and organize your time so that you waste as little time as possible on unimportant and unnecessary things.
On a blank piece of paper, write down which areas of your life are most important to you: family, health, career, finances, etc. Now think of possible problems in each of them. Once you identify them, try to figure out how you can protect yourself from them.
If it’s health, get a medical checkup in a timely manner. Change your nutrition, play sports. Devote enough time to sleep and rest. In the financial realm, the ability to budget comes in handy. Set aside a portion of each paycheck to have savings for emergencies and unforeseen circumstances.
Make informed decisions
Understand the implications of your decisions and make them thoughtfully rather than impulsively. Your actions should be the result of analysis and planning, not emotion and chance. If things go wrong, you are responsible for them, no one else.
Throw out of your vocabulary: “impossible”, “can’t do”, “can’t do”. Instead, focus on what you can and can do, and do it. Keep a positive attitude and believe in your abilities. It’s also not worth wasting time on complaining and negative emotions that won’t produce any results and won’t change anything.
A proactive person in anything and everything will always find the right way out and a productive solution. Remember that your life belongs only to you and only you can change it for the better. Your decisions are the basis of all positive and negative changes, so don’t be afraid to take responsibility for them and become the master of your fate.
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