Many peo­ple today focus on chang­ing their out­side behav­iors for many rea­sons. Per­haps peer pres­sure, social norms and some exter­nal fac­tors.

But we can­not change by mere­ly chang­ing who we are by what peo­ple see because change must begin inside and ends out­side as its man­i­fes­ta­tion.

I was read­ing the book of 7 Habits of High­ly Effec­tive Peo­ple by Stephen Cov­ey and would like to share some of the lessons I’ve learned from being proac­tive and it is more than mere­ly tak­ing ini­tia­tive.

1. Being proac­tive means being respon­si­ble. Being reac­tive means the oth­er­wise.

Hav­ing the abil­i­ty to choose “our response”.

High­ly proac­tive peo­ple do not blame cir­cum­stances. They do not play the blame game. They rec­og­nize that they are what they are right now because of the choic­es they made in the past.

As I reflect on this, I admit that I am a proac­tive per­son. I love tak­ing ini­tia­tive but also I am a reac­tive per­son because I often blame the cir­cum­stances or would love to slack rather than to hus­tle.

Some of my deci­sions in the past were made out of how I feel and not on what should I do. I was dri­ven by emo­tion.

I remem­ber when I was young, I often give up when things come to shove. 4 years ago, I found myself com­plain­ing to my boss because he blocked my inter­net access in the office mak­ing me stop what I am devel­op­ing. (I was a Soft­ware Devel­op­er).

The result was not good, instead of mak­ing the ini­tia­tive to do my best to fin­ish the project, I went to my boss’s desk and told him how I was frus­trat­ed. We didn’t resolve the issue so after­ward I wrote a res­ig­na­tion let­ter in front of him telling him that I want to quit.

That’s one of the reac­tive respons­es that I was made in the past.

As they say; “Do not make deci­sions when you are hun­gry and angry, sleep over it and think about it again”.

There’s one per­son that I always look up in terms of good response. Jesus. In the Bible, we can’t find him react­ing to his oppo­nents in an emo­tion­al way. He often responds in a respect­ful way yet, full of wis­dom that makes a per­son reflect on his actions.

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2. Proac­tive peo­ple make deci­sions based on their val­ues. Reac­tive peo­ple make the deci­sion out on how they feel.

We have the dif­fer­ent set of val­ues and they dif­fer accord­ing to our pri­or­i­ties.

I val­ue my faith in God first and then my fam­i­ly and list goes on. And I think hav­ing dif­fer­ent val­ues clash­es peo­ple.

For exam­ple, if one does not val­ue what I val­ue , the ten­den­cy is that, I will force my val­ues on them mak­ing this world an unsafe place to live, and prob­a­bly one of the actions reac­tive peo­ple would do.

I have learned that proac­tive peo­ple do not make deci­sions based on their feel­ings. They make a deci­sion out of their val­ues and prin­ci­ples. You can­not force your val­ues or con­vic­tions to oth­er peo­ple.

3. Proac­tive Peo­ple Act. Reac­tive Peo­ple wait to be act­ed upon.

I grew up being a reac­tive per­son. I often wait for my par­ents to call me for help, or some­thing that needs to be done rather than act­ing upon on it imme­di­ate­ly.

The time I start­ed work­ing on my own, things haven’t change imme­di­ate­ly, because of my intro­vert nature, I often wait­ed to be act­ed upon.

Like for exam­ple if I need to update my boss of what I am doing, I usu­al­ly wait­ed for him or her to fol­low up rather than tak­ing an ini­tia­tive to act imme­di­ate­ly and that was one my weak­ness­es that often gave to me as areas I need to improve on.

Proac­tive peo­ple know the val­ue of wait­ing, but they are not pas­sive. They can act imme­di­ate­ly.

In terms of this one, it has been said in the Scrip­tures that there was a peri­od in the his­to­ry where­in peo­ple are not going out of their com­fort zone to share the gospel with oth­ers. What hap­pened was, a man named Saul was raised to approve the killing of believ­ers and per­se­cu­tion start­ed to kick in.

And because of that the peo­ple of God was spread out and they start­ed to share the gospel across the nation. Don’t get me wrong but I think it’s one of the few exam­ples I have in mind for being reac­tive.

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4. Proac­tive Peo­ple focus and find solu­tions on what they can con­trol. Reac­tive peo­ple focus on prob­lems and keep dig­ging into it.

In many ways, human nature is to dig into prob­lems rather than find­ing the solu­tion. I have seen this trait in most peo­ple.

They often com­plain what’s going to the econ­o­my and they fear it will col­lapse and they don’t stop blam­ing the gov­ern­ment for it.

Some of them often uttered self-ful­fill­ing proph­e­sies that this coun­try will be a waste because of sev­er­al fac­tors.

Those peo­ple are reac­tive. They focus on prob­lems. They are often anx­ious and not trust­wor­thy. They are dri­ven by the emo­tion of fear and resent­ment.

Proac­tive peo­ple find solu­tions instead. If they think they can­not con­trol what’s hap­pen­ing, they rather find a way at least for them to gain the advan­tage over it.

Proac­tive peo­ple always act in faith on the things they can­not con­trol.

Proac­tive peo­ple know their val­ues, and they live based on their prin­ci­ples and not on any social pres­sure, fear and resent­ment.

5. Proac­tive Peo­ple work on “becom­ing”. Reac­tive peo­ple focus on “hav­ing”.

I’ll be hap­py when I have my own car…
I’ll be hap­py when I have my own busi­ness…
If I had a Master’s Degree…
If I could just have more time for myself…

I real­ize, every time we think of the prob­lems we have, we empow­er them to con­trol us until they become the cen­ter of our lives.

One of the few exam­ples of reac­tive peo­ple in the Bible was Moses. He sees the prob­lem and weak­ens by it but despite it, God made him a ruler of His peo­ple.

One exam­ple of the proac­tive per­son in the Bible was Joseph The Dream­er.

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His sto­ry was inspir­ing and have been using in dif­fer­ent moti­va­tion­al and inspi­ra­tional speech­es.

When Joseph was young, his broth­ers sold him to become a slave in Egypt. Yet Joseph did not exhib­it any self-pity for him­self.

Instead, he worked on him­self. He grew him­self with the faith his father Jacob impart­ed to him. He lived the prin­ci­ples that were taught to him mak­ing him more an effec­tive per­son.

Joseph then became sec­ond in com­mand of Pharoah.

It is eas­i­er for us to blame oth­ers or have pity on our­selves if we are in his sit­u­a­tion but Joseph did not because he is a proac­tive per­son. He relied on his faith that even he can­not con­trol the sit­u­a­tion, his faith in God is going to let him out of it.

A proac­tive approach to any sit­u­a­tion, Stephen Cov­ey said is :“If I real­ly want to improve my sit­u­a­tion, I can work on the thing over which I have con­trol — myself”.

What are the things we can con­trol? Our response. It’s up to us whether we find a solu­tion imme­di­ate­ly or pray in faith first that every­thing will be okay and then act and observe what God will do in your sit­u­a­tion — both of them are acts of proac­tive­ness.

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I blog about my dis­cov­er­ies and learn­ings with per­son­al devel­op­ment, blog­ging, writ­ing, pub­lic speak­ing, and pub­lish­ing. I am a Jesus fol­low­er. Each month, I send out a newslet­ter with free tips on those top­ics.

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