Learning to be proactive

Sherman Hoover
Learning to be proactive

Proactivity or proactive behavior of people refers to anticipatory behavior, oriented to change in situations. Proactive behavior involves acting before a future situation, rather than just reacting. It means taking control and making things happen rather than just adjusting to a situation or waiting for something to happen..

Being proactive doesn't just mean taking initiative, but taking responsibility for making things happen; decide at all times what we want to do and how we are going to do it.

A proactive person is one who assumes his own responsibilities and does not give up under the circumstances. According to Víktor Frankl, he is also the person who has initiative and pursues goals, for the good of himself and others..


  • Proactivity is opposed to the idea of ​​reactivity
  • How to know if I am proactive or reactive
  • Opposing Factors or Reactive Attitudes
  • Common Affirmations That Prevent Us From Being Proactive
  • Alternatives to being a Proactive Person
    • Bibliographic reference

Proactivity is opposed to the idea of ​​reactivity

When people behave proactively, at the same time they are rejecting reactive attitudes, which are those that imply being affected or even overwhelmed by circumstances, which would make any change become a hindrance to the effort. In addition, a reactive person focuses his effort on worry, on thinking about the many things over which he has no control and they will turn against him. Proactivity arises in opposition to this idea, highlighting the importance of acting taking into account carefully considered values, where the effort is positive in itself..

  • Being Proactive means taking conscious control over your life, setting goals, and working hard to achieve them. Instead of reacting to events and waiting for opportunities to come, you go out and create your own events and opportunities..
  • Being proactive means that instead of acting based on the situations that come into your life, you create situations with an almost engineering process.

Many people think reactively. That is, they think at the moment when things happen, they react when they perceive certain situations or eventualities.

And reactive thinking is up to a point good, however it becomes a problem when you do it all the time..

There is an important space between Stimuli and Responses, and within that space, lies the potential that we carry within to respond or react..

How to know if I am proactive or reactive

An excellent way to become more aware of our own proactiveness is to examine how we invest our time and energy. Each of us has a wide range of concerns: health, children, work problems, public debt, wars ... We can separate them from things with which we have no mental or emotional commitment, creating a “circle of worry".

When we review the things that are within our circle of concern it becomes clear that over some of them we have no real control and, regarding others, we can do something. We can identify the concerns of the latter group by circumscribing them within a smaller “circle of influence”. Proactive people focus their efforts on the circle of influence. They are dedicated to things that they can do something about. Its energy is positive: it expands and increases, which leads to the widening of the circle of influence.

One way to determine our circle of concern is to distinguish "haves" and "bes." The circle of concern is full of "having": "I will be happy when I have my own house"; "If I had a boss who wasn't such a dictator ..."; "If I had a more patient wife ..."; "If I had a more obedient son ...". The circle of influence is full of "being": I can be more patient, I can be sensible, I can be loving. Focus is on character.

Whenever we think that the problem is "out there", this thinking is the problem, because we give something that is outside the power to control us. The paradigm of change is then from the outside in: what is outside has to change before we change..

The proactive approach is about changing from the inside out.

The proactive approach proposes to be different, and in this way cause a positive change in what is outside: I can be more ingenious, more diligent, more creative, more cooperative.

You have the responsibility to act yourself. If you expect others to act on you, they will act on you. And the consequences in terms of development and opportunities depend on which one route or another is followed..

Contrary Factors or Reactive Attitudes

  1. Be deterministic.
  2. Be fatalistic.
  3. Confusing the common with the normal.
  4. Like the crack or gossip.
  5. Always justify.
  6. Not getting into action.
  7. Do things by halves.
  8. Be resentful.
  9. Be negative.
  10. Do not take risks or responsibilities.
  11. Always have excuses.
  12. Wasting time.

Common Affirmations That Prevent Us From Being Proactive

  1. I do not meet the deadlines established for the delivery of tasks, reports, projects, etc. Because… .
    Common excuses: I don't have time for so many things.
    True reasons: I do not plan the time, I let myself be won by laziness or sloppiness.
  1. I do not do activities that I want to do (exercises, read, travel, go out, etc.) because ... .
    Common excuses: I don't feel like it or I don't have the money to do them.
    Real reasons: I don't like to leave the house or I don't want to spend on it.
  1. Many times I am late for appointments or appointments because ... .
    Common excuses: Everyone is late or there is a lot of traffic.
    Real reasons: There is so much time that I do not want to arrive early or I always leave late.
  1. Sometimes I don't do things as well as I could do them because ... .
    Common excuses: Nobody values ​​it or I don't have the necessary conditions.
    Real reasons: I don't want to try harder or I don't feel capable.
  1. Even if I don't agree, I often do what my friends do, because ... .
    Common excuses: I don't want to argue with them or I don't want them to think badly of me.
    Real reasons: I don't value my own opinions or I don't trust myself.
  1. Sometimes I don't tell people what I want to say (feelings, opinions, ideas, etc.) because ... .
    Common Excuses: I don't want to be bothered or not worth telling.
    Real reasons: Fear of being angry or rejected.
  1. Usually in group work I don't give my opinion because ... .
    Usual excuses: I don't think it's important or everyone talks.
    Real reasons: Believing that my opinion is not important or not really showing me who I am.
  1. I usually leave things to do at the last minute because ... .
    Common excuses: There is plenty of time or what am I going to do my best to.
    Real reasons: I allow myself to be overcome by apathy or I don't have the will to do them.

Alternatives to being a Proactive Person

  1. Find solutions and not guilty.
  2. Be more thoughtful and don't always respond automatically.
  3. Recognize skills and feats.
  4. Do not make or make excuses.
  5. Focus on achievement (I will achieve it, I can….).
  6. Ask for guidance and help when needed.
  7. Find alternative solutions.
  8. Be positive (prepare for the best).
  9. Always have will and motivation in any circumstance.

Bibliographic reference

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey.

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