Habit One: Be Proactive

Have you ever thought why animals can’t talk and think like people? When I was a kid, I used to think why animals are not like men. Until I read this habit one, I realized that we humans are lucky because even if we weren’t provided with skills like those of animals, we were given this gift of thought, where we can share and communicate with other people. We have this self-awareness within us that separates us from our thoughts and the way in which we see things, and as well as ourselves. I believe that it is a wonderful gift.

We are not our feelings. We are not our moods. We are not even our thoughts.” That was one of my favorite lines in the habit one. I believe that this is how self-awareness keeps us  from and enables us to think of our feelings, moods, and thoughts. That is how powerful a mind can be. We can even change those in just a second with our minds. People usually say that “our things can be taken from us, as well as our fortune. But knowledge can never be taken away from us.” Now, what is the significance of this saying to what I am trying to say? Well, each and every one of us has our own minds and thoughts. No matter how hard people try, they can never easily influence us on something or even tell us to do something without our permission. This means that we are the ones who call the shots in our lives. We are the pilot of our plane of thoughts and it is in ourselves if we are going to let other people control it. Every man has the greatest power within him. And that is the freedom to choose.

Proactive people are sometimes misjudged as those who are aggressive, insensitive of others’ feelings, and more like a dictator. Well, that’s how reactive people think a proactive person is. I asked myself many times why people are being reactive whenever something is up. Then I found myself guilty of it. I used to be so reactive that every time our teacher during in grade school asks us to do something like a paperwork or project, I react. And the first thing that comes to my mind was “how am I gonna do it?” and what is in my mind is that “it is hard”. Until high school, I was able to think “Why do I have to complain all the time?” I thought that complaining seems to make everything worse and in the end, there’s nothing that I’ve accomplished. Why not just stop complaining and start doing it? I tried it and it didn’t fail me. I was actually doing well and even finished doing those tasks before the said deadline. By being proactive, I learned to myself that “I can do it” and I was actually doing it well.

That’s the difference between proactive and reactive people. Reactive people response with their feelings. They tend to tell themselves that “that thing is hard” or “I can’t do it” without trying it first. They lack self-confidence inside them that prevents them from having the freedom of choosing what they want. I was once a reactive person. A person who is always thinking of “what will happen?” and “I can’t do it” until I found myself having the power of getting it done: that is where my being proactive began. On the other hand, proactive people are driven by values, and they think smartly. They just don’t think for solutions, they make things happen.

“It’s not what happens to us, but our response to what happens to us hurts us.” Upon reading this quote, the first thing that came up to my mind was us, Filipinos. During the typhoon “Ondoy” where many homes were left devastated, there are still a lot of people who were walking along the flooded streets with a smile on their faces. If you would be asking other races, they would probably say that it’s weird but that’s how Filipinos are. This explains their proactive attitude wherein they see the positive side of life where they, (well, not exactly everyone but majority of them) didn’t thought much on how their things have been soaked in the flood, or how their house was ruined by the flowing water. But what they are smiling for is that their families are all safe and just thought that they will move on and live a better tomorrow. That’s how positive a proactive person can be. No matter how certain situations occur and ruin their day, they would still be thinking of the positive side of what just happened, and some even use it as their strength in order for them to be a better person and do things more effectively.

I’ve just recently realized that my reason of being reactive before was because I focused too much on my circle of concern, where I focused myself, my thoughts, feelings and emotions to the things which I have no control of. Just like having a lot of paper works, there’s no way to stop it, right? It is a requirement. I focused on the weak points which made it even harder for me to do. If I just focused myself on my circle of influence, I would have done it right away without having a hard time doing it. By focusing on the circle of influence, I should have focused on the things that I have and can control, just like telling myself to do it, instead of postponing it for another day. Focusing on your circle of influence can change your life. It can change how you see and view life before, and how you improved a lot because of focusing yourself in it.

Building and improving circle of influence is similar to what I think of perception: “If you wouldn’t allow yourself to believe in certain things, you can’t change them.” Change begins within yourself and your circle of influence boosts up as you think and allow yourself to change your own belief and perception on things in a better way. It is the only way where you can influence other people and make them effective.

Anytime we think of the problem is “out there,” that thought is the problem” Proactive people doesn’t let negativity ruin their positive outlooks in life, right? Whenever I encounter people with negative thoughts, the first thing that comes to my mind is either that person is weak or irresponsible. That is how I think of them, and maybe that is what others thought too. You wouldn’t let problems take over you if you’re strong, right? But I realized that in order for me to change the attitude or the negative outlook of that person, I have to change my perceptions of him first. I have to believe that he can change so that I can change him completely. Encouragement always works, but “action speaks louder than words” so what I do is I will tell him to do it; I will make sure he realizes he can do it so that I can tell myself that “I was able to turn a reactive person into a proactive one, and it feels great!”

This habit is all about being you. How powerful our decisions can be, and how can it result you into a better person. Being proactive doesn’t have to make other people think that you are pushy, or inconsiderate, or even aggressive. Being proactive simply means that you make things happen in your own way, just as you like it to be. It’s like clothes; you will always feel comfortable with clothes that you prefer wearing rather than the clothes that others want you to wear. Tell them that you’re you! You have your own decision and you know yourself better than anyone in this world. Make them realize that every person has the freedom to choose – the freedom to decide.

One thought on “Habit One: Be Proactive

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