Viktor Frankl, a great example of Proactivity, who was imprisoned in death camp of Nazi Germany. No one has ever experienced the physical and intellectual abuse than those people who were in those camps. In that very degrading circumstances, he became aware that no one can cause us to think something we dont want to think. He became aware of the FREEDOM to choose our response regardless of any situation.
Therefore, anything that happens to us, the stimulus, and our response to it, we have FREEDOM or POWER to choose our response. In another words, it’s not what happens to us, but what we do about them, that matters. Gandhi said that “No one can take our self respect, if we do not give it to them”. means no one can make us unhappy without our consent or permission.
The opposite of Proactivity is Reactivity. A reactive people think their life is shaped by circumstances, and conditions out side of them. They say, what can I do, I have to do this, She,makes me do this, this is annoying, or that’s just the way I am. When whether is good, they feel happy, but when it’s not, then, it affects their performance. When other people treat them well, they feel good, but when they dont, then these reactive people become protective and offensive. Proactive people, on the other hand, keep their whether with them. Whether it’s shining or raining, makes no difference to them.
The reason why we are responsible for anything that happens to us, is because we have four unique gifts that no other animals have it. We have SELF AWARENESS. We can look at our own thoughts, feelings, behaviours, habits, paradigm. We can observe ourself at very deep level. We have IMAGINATION. We can create in our Imagination far beyond current circumstances. Everything is created twice, once in physical plane, and another one in Imagination. We also have CONSCIENCE, an internal voice says what’s right and what’s wrong. And finally, we have FREE WILL, a power to act on all other three qualities regardless on all the influences. These four gifts lift us from animal world.
The problems we face, falls in one of the following category, (1) Direct Control: which is directly associated with our own involvement, (2) Indirect Control, caused by involvement of other people, (3) No Control, we can not do much about them and need to accept to live with them. Whatever types of problems may be, but all fall into circle of influence, means we can solve direct control problems by working on our own habits. We can solve Indirect control problems by working on human influences methods. And No control problems are accepted and therefore they can not control us any more.
I encourage you to take 30-days challenge to work on developing your proactive muscle, work only on the things you can do something about them, taking responsibility for all your results, monitoring your reactive language. making commitment and keeping them, using your Self awareness – Imagination – Free will. A whole new world of possibilities will open up for you.