The word proactive is commonly used. It means more than merely taking initiative. It means that that as human being, we are responsible for our own lives. Our behavior is the reflection of our decisions, not our conditions. We have the initiative and responsibility to make things happen. Feelings can be subdued by values and ethics. The word responsibility is “response ability”- the ability to choose our response. Highly proactive people recognize that responsibility. They do not blame situations, circumstances or people for their behavior. Their behavior is the product of their own choices, based on ethics and values, rather than a product of their circumstances, based on feelings. When we choose to empower circumstances to control us, our lives become product of conditioning and conditions. In making such a choice we become reactive. Reactive people often affected by their physical environment. If the circumstances are good they feel good about their selves and the people around them. If it is not, it affects their attitude and their performance. Proactive people carry their own weather with them. Whether it rains or shines makes no difference to them. They are value and ethics driven and if their value is to provide good quality work, it is not a function of whether the weather is conducive or not. Reactive people are also affected by the social ambiance. They build their emotional lives around the behavior of others. If people treat them well, they feel well, when people don’t, they become defensive. Proactive people subordinate impulse to a value. They are driven by values and ethics, on the other hand reactive people are driven by circumstances, by situations, by conditioning, by their environment. Proactive people carefully think and select their values. Proactive people still influenced by external environment, whether physical, social, or psychological. But their response to stimuli, conscious or subconscious is a value based choice or response.
Dr. Preetpal Kaur