Do you often find yourself asking: How the hell did this happen?
If so, you probably have a reactive attitude towards life, instead of a proactive approach.
And if you want a better, more fulfilling life, it pays to be proactive.
People with a reactive attitude:
- don’t typically take responsibility for their actions and the consequences
- often find themselves “fighting fires” and dealing with crises
People with a proactive approach:
- take responsibility for their actions and the consequences
- don’t “fight fires” often since they prefer “preventive medicine” and looking at the long-range effects of their actions.
Now, notice we say “people with a proactive/reactive attitude” rather than “proactive/reactive people”.
Because you can choose to think and act proactively or reactively — it’s not “who you are.” All it takes is some self-awareness.
Notice when you are telling yourself reactive things like:
- I can’t believe ____ happened! Now I can’t ____.
- I would have done ____, but they/the weather/my dog/____.
- Why does this always happen to me?
How can you become more proactive?
Here are some ways to start acting more proactively:
- Control and manage the things you can control and manage. Do the best you can with what you have.
- Anticipate and plan. Look ahead. Few things are shocking. Bad weather in winter, long lineups at the airport, or meetings at the office should not come as a shock.
- Be solution-oriented, not problem-oriented. Focus on what you can DO right now, rather than how much things suck.
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