The proactive approach to a mistake is to acknowledge it instantly, correct and learn from it. ~Stephen Covey
If you aren’t sure if you are proactive or reactive, think about this quote for a minute. Covey goes on to say that our behavior is determined by three main factors, and unfortunately, they start to look like a “Pavlov reaction” soon enough.
- Genes: Did you inherit this character from your family?
- Nurture: You got your character and ideas from how your parents brought you up.
- Environment: The people and places around you are starting to influence your behavior.
So now that we have determined the basis for being proactive and reactive, it is likely you just decided that you might be just a wee bit reactive.
I don’t mind joking on myself to make a great point, and you can probably see this coming, but I was raised by very reactive people. It makes for funny stories, it really does, but it makes it difficult to break out of such a cycle. Here is where it is necessary to start though. It is time to take off the gauntlets, and start learning your own set of skills for enacting change in your life. After all…it is YOUR life.
At some point in your life, it is likely that you have gotten drawn into the “I am going to have the last word” argument. If you are someone who usually loves to have the last word, then this part will be difficult for you, but you have to try. What can you do when every form of logic they are speaking just makes no sense, but they keep talking anyway??? <<< try not to flip out.
Here are a few tips for this situation.
- They really just want you to come back and argue more in this situation…and nothing you say will actually change their mind.
- Try this “I am not interested in having this debate with you…so I am going to do something more productive with my time.”
- Stay silent and just look at them. How often has this worked for you? The key to your empowerment is to actually NOT have the last word…thus sending the message that there really is nothing to discuss.
When we are in the reactive state of mind, they control our reactions. I repeat. They are in control and usually know this by continuing to bait you.
Here’s another one for you to think about. You are at work and that co-worker who plucks your last nerve is spouting off at the meeting, the copy room or the lunch area. You are minding your own business until they insert something that they claimed they did, but it was your idea first. It could even be that PTA lady at your kid’s school, but it doesn’t matter. They are being loud in order to get reactions from people. They want praise and encouragement to continue this line of thinking. How are you going to handle this?
- Look them straight in the eye and congratulate them. This is one way to handle it, but keep it simple. Nothing more.
- You have the choice to explore a different route now…and make your original idea much better. After going down this route, then present it to your boss. There’s nothing wrong with waiting until you have tweaked it.
- Enlist in the support of others if you want to make a bigger impact with your idea. If you really want to get over this person trying to control the situation, you could even ask them to help you with how to execute this plan. It’s all in how you phrase it.
As we learn not to be reactive, and turn more towards the proactive way of thinking, we learn not to be stuck in this victim mentality that so many people are using each and everyday. These reactive people exhibit the following signs.
Signs of reactive thinking:
- Failure to accept any responsibility. It is always someone’s fault…except for theirs.
- Everyone in the nearest vicinity is at fault. Blame never gets caught in their own two hands. It’s like the game of hot potato…and they throw that thing away before you can see it stopped on them.
- They rationalize their destructive habits.
- They focus only on the problems...never wanting to move to a solution.
- They might live in the past or the “what if” land. What if things had been different?? But they aren’t. So here you have it.
Signs of proactive thinking:
- The buck stops here. It is your responsibility to get things done.
- You are accountable. Your goals are clearly defined and you know what you need to do in order to reach them.
- You have good problem solving skills or seek out others who can help you create the skills you need in order to accomplish the change you want to see in your life. It does not have to be business related, it can be completely personal goals. For example: losing weight. You have been struggling, so you seek out ways to make it happen with a plan.
- They are consistent. Slow and steady really does work for keeping your eye on the change you want to create in your life.
- They aren’t worried about reaching out to the right people in order to succeed. I have been running a closed group of motivated people from all over the world. On days we need to remember that our goal is mastering our thoughts, we put in the work, ask the questions in the group, and start back at our monthly goals. We have surrounded ourselves with like minds in order to really focus on creating this lasting change for ourselves.
In the end, being honest with yourself is best. If you think it is time to do the work on the inside in order to get results on the outside, we would love to have you in our group. Being reactive throughout life didn’t really yield any personal satisfaction when I was in my worst pain. However taking control of those thoughts, and taking control of my Head|Heart|Health, has given me an entirely new outlook on life.
I went from pain of hardly being able to move, to completing 200 hours of Vinyasa yoga teacher training. I then continued on to get certified in yoga for pain and arthritis. I left a job that was taking a toll on my health and I learned how to heal myself naturally, and then continued on to get sports nutrition certification. I started counseling others how to do the same and this year, was proud to announce the new online catalog that includes different options to really take back control of your life.