Just as a physical workout leads to increased energy levels and feelings of well-being, being proactive rather than reactive in everyday living has the same effect. Being proactive means taking responsibility for our own lives. Being reactive means allowing outside forces, circumstances, or people to limit or control our life. Reactive people blame and complain and often take on the role of a victim.
Where’s the energy in the following phrases?
Being Reactive: Being Proactive:
There’s nothing I can do Let’s look at the alternatives
That’s just the way I am I can choose a different approach
He makes me so mad I control my own feelings
I don’t have the time I set my own priorities
I can’t I choose
I must I prefer
If only I will
Reactive language is the language of defeat. It has no energy. It acknowledges the power of others to control our behavior and emotional life.
Being Proactive is Habit #1 of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen R. Covey). Proactive people identify and work in their circle of influence – they work on the things they can do something about. They change their own behavior or habits. They seek to influence the habits of others. And they let go of problems that they have no control over.
The language of proactivity replaces the negative mind chatter that keeps us mired in inactivity. Negative mind chatter will not go away simply by denying it. It will only go away by replacing it with positive language.
In order to reach a goal, to achieve success, or to make a change, choose action over reaction. Even though the path may not be clear, action generates energy and leads to opportunity. What actions will you take today (and tomorrow and the next day) to move yourself forward?