Chapter 4

Being Proactive

As an individual, you are directly responsible for your own life. Your behavior is a sum of all the decisions you’ve made, not your conditions. You are the only person who has the initiative and the responsibility to turn your life around and make things happen. People who are proactive, are conscious of their purpose and they know that the conditions and circumstances around them are not to blame, but it is rather their own behaviour that holds them back from awakening their true purpose in life.

Your behaviour is a direct product of your conscious choices that are based on your value systems. By nature, we are all proactive beings, and in the event, our lives are conditioned by the circumstances around us, it is because we have made the decision, consciously, to empower those things to control us.

The opposite of being proactive is reactive. When you are reactive, you are affected by the physical environment more than your own value system. For example, when the weather around a reactive person is good, then everything else is fine, and their attitude and performance is not affected. However, if the weather changes, so does their position and performance.

Proactive people are masters of their own destiny and purpose. Whether it rains or not, it makes absolutely no difference to proactive people. Because their value systems drive them, they will continue to produce quality work.

If you want to live a purposeful life, you need to lessen your impulses to a value that is central to your existence. Even though external stimuli may influence you from time to time, your response to this stimuli should be value based. To remain on track in pursuing your goals and life’s purpose, you need to own up to and acknowledge that the choices you’ve made thus far in your life have made you into who you are today.

Taking Initiative

Our basic nature is programmed to act and not be acted upon. We ultimately have the power to choose our responses to the circumstances around us. Taking the initiative has nothing to do with being aggressive, obnoxious, or pushy, but rather it has everything to do with being able to recognise our personal responsibility to make things happen. Too many people stand around waiting for something to happen or for someone else to take care of their affairs.

If you want to find a good job that centers around your passion, one that you will enjoy for a long time, you have to be proactive and generate the creative solutions to the problems that you or your company face. You have to seize the initiative so that you can do whatever takes to get the job done.

Prevail or Be Prevailed Upon

There is a substantial difference between people who take the initiative and those who don’t. Life is fair in the sense that everyone has the opportunity to steer their lives toward their purpose or destiny. However, if you do not utilise the opportunities in front of you to prevail, those around you will use you to accomplish their own purposes. Regardless of your personality, you can create a proactive culture in your life by combining your creativity and resourcefulness. You do not have any excuses to be at the mercy of the environment. Instead, you can take the initiative and accomplish your life’s purpose.

Become More Aware of Your Proactivity

A great way to become more aware of your degree of proactivity is to analyze where you focus your resources. There are a lot of concerns that each of us has in our lives. In an attempt to separate the things that we have no specific emotional or mental involvement, you can create a circle of concern.

When you begin to examine those things in your circle of concern, it will start to become clear that there are certain things that you have no control over and others that you might be able to do something about. The things you discover that you have control over can be regrouped further into a smaller circle of influence. When you can determine your allocation of time and energy between the circle of concern and the sphere of influence, you can then discover the extent of your proactivity. Those who are proactive in their lives care about their purpose in life and focus their efforts on those things that are in their circle of influence. They only concentrate on the things that they can do something about.

On the other hand, reactive people, become much more engrossed in the circle of concern. They focus more on the weaknesses of others, the problems with the environment, and the circumstances that are well beyond their control. This results in a confused and purposeless life that is based on blaming and accusing attitudes, reactive language, and increased feelings of victimisation.

As long as you find yourself working in the circle of concern and focusing on the things within that circle, you won’t accomplish anything. However, if you can shift your focus and start working in your sphere of influence, you will create positive energy that will change you and that will influence your subsequent actions.

It is inspiring to realise that you can powerfully affect your overall situation by choosing the manner in which you respond to circumstances. When you can change a section of your chemical formula, you can alter the nature of the results. If you want to improve your situation and find your purpose in life, you need to concentrate on the things that you have control over.

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