When you hear the word “proactive” what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it ‘taking initiative’, ‘being prepared’, ‘taking responsibility’ or something different? In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the late Dr. Stephen Covey makes a point that proactivity is not merely taking initiative, but additionally it is the notion that as humans we must take responsibility for our own lives.
In today’s very reactive society, especially on social media platforms, how can we remain proactive instead of reactive? The first thing is to realize that we are only responsible for our own actions, our own thoughts, and our own influences. Just because we see something that we disagree with, whether it relates to our business’ industry, politics, sports, community, etc, does not mean we ought to respond. Unless you know your reaction can have a positive influence on the subject, it is best to ‘walk away.’ This can be very hard to do, particularly when we one has strong opinions on a subject and when sharing our opinions is so easily facilitated, often without fear of being corrected or debated.
This is not to say we should live in a bubble and we ought not to engage in lively discussions or debates on the things that concern us. However, before being reactive consider:
If the answers to the above questions are ‘no’ then the proactive thing to do is take responsibility for your time. Rather than expending it on trivial discussions which will have no net-positive benefit, do something productive to help yourself, your business, family, community, or your passion. While this is a hard order for many of us to follow, I am personally up to the challenge and will be proactive instead of reactive from now on!
Thank you for reading.
Find Stephen Covey’s book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People here: https://www.stephencovey.com/7habits/7habits.php
Edited by Dr. Lisa Tayloe