The first habit of highly successful people
Proactive — adjective — (of a person, policy, or action) creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey was published in 2004 and has sold over 15 million copies. It is still one of the most highly ranked books for sale on Amazon.
This book has offered millions of people ways to change the way they think, respond, and create success in their lives. The first habit is to be proactive.
Most people are reactive. They skip right over the very few seconds between thought and response where the choice resides. Many believe that they have no choice to make and they are compelled to respond in the way they do.
The responses are attributed to everything from the weather to politics and every possible thing in between. People who are reactive feel that they are not responsible for their reactions.
It is raining and rain always makes me depressed.
Reactive people attribute their responses to things they cannot control. If they could control them, then they would not affect them, right?
Reactive people lack the ability to be response-able. Read that again. The lack of the belief that they are ABLE to respond differently. They are ABLE to choose their response.
All it takes is a very few brief seconds or moments to stop at the thought to make a choice before proceeding to the response. And after you make the choice to respond, being responsible for the outcome of that choice. You decided to respond in that way not to allow something or someone to make that choice for you.
Many people think that their responsive behavior is a choice and that they are making the choice. This is because for years of their lives they have responded to certain things in the exact same way over and over every time. This trains their brains to believe this response is their choice. When it clearly is just a reaction.
Reactive people live in the circle of concern — worry over things they cannot control. Their reactions are to those things they fear they cannot control. By reacting to these things their circle of concern grows bigger and bigger.
People who are proactive go from thought/event to critical thinking (choice) to actively making a choice. Proactive people live in a circle of influence — what things do I actually have control over.
He makes me so mad is reactive. I control my own feelings is proactive.
Building positivity into the circle of influence expands the circle. The more we acknowledge responsibility for our thoughts the more we can choose to control the outcome.
Proactive people decide what happens to them moving forward instead of allowing what has happened to them to keep them stuck. Proactive people realize it is the thought itself that needs to be acted upon not the outside force that is blamed for the thought.
Between stimulus and response there’s a space. In that space lies our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom. ~ Stephen Covey