Proactive behavior refers to self-initiated behaviour that endeavours to solve a problem before it has occurred. Proactive behaviour involves acting in advance of a future situation, rather than reacting. It refers to taking control of a situation and making early changes, rather than adjusting to a situation or waiting for something to happen. (Wikipedia)
In another related meaning, the 1946 book Man’s Search for Meaning brought the word to the wider public domain. The author, Austrian existential neuropsychiatrist Dr. Viktor Frankl, used the word to describe a person who took responsibility for his or her life, rather than looking for causes in outside circumstances or other people.
Being proactive is a very essential and important characteristic to become successful in any dimension of life.
How Proactive Are You
To check your proactive level, you need to do one small exercise. You need to compile all your to-do lists for the last two or three weeks in one place. And then start separating them as your initiatives, other’s initiatives and routine work.
Your initiative means, initiatives that come in in your mind and now you are leading them or you have assigned them that to your subordinate.
Other’s initiatives are purely come from somebody else, but as it seems important or urgent and that’s why you are acting on them.
The routine task should also be part of the to-do list.
Now if your initiative consist > 50% in this whole list, you are doing good. You can further improve on this to 70-80 %.
But if your initiative < 50%, you seem a reactive person. To achieve success, you need to improve your initiative level by more than 50%.
Let’s understand in more detail like if you are a student, then just realized that how many times you have decided to learn the subject, ask doubts to a teacher or your friend. How many times your parents/ your teacher have asked you to study your subjects. Overall are you studying on your own or you need somebody to trigger you to study.
Remember, if you are not initiating your own thought process for study your subject, then things will be difficult for you in higher education. In higher education professors generally guide you on the subject, but you need to do in-depth detailing and understanding on your own.
Many a time we pass the exam by parroting the subject and doesn’t really understand the subject. And the consequence we face in real life when we want to implement that knowledge. We hesitate as we ourselves are not clear on the basic background of that subject.
You might have seen class or college toppers, who were only academic toppers. Other skills like interpersonal behaviour, communication, implementation skills were missing in them. The outcome, they suffered at starting of their career unless they developed those necessary skills.
In professional life also, if you are mostly doing the work, which is originated in other’s mind, then realise how long will you propel. Those people will dominate the environment and lead.
You can even right now correlated some of your colleagues, who have joined along with you but slowly making difference in career growth. They are moving faster than you and their proactiveness is one of the key reasons for this.
We can understand this with one example as if one senior ask you to do detailing about the new customers. Now after one day, you went to that senior and shared information. You said that customer is based in Delhi, they involved in the battery business and planning to launch a new product at multiple locations near Delhi. Also, they are searching for one good advertising agency for their new product launch. Senior says to you as ‘good job is done, thank you’.
Now one of your colleagues was also asked the same question. After doing detailing of that customer, he/she approached to senior and shared his/her findings. This customer is a very potential customer to our business. They are basically in the battery business and located in Delhi. As the electric vehicle market is going to boom in-country as well as in the world, so they are launching a new product for that segment. Their R&D team had invested 5 years in that project and their initial result seems impressive. They want to make this launching event a mega event and we can perfectly serve them with our new advertising tool. We must place our strategy in place to grab this opportunity.
Now what you feel, who will get the preference, You or Your colleague? Though you were having good information but your colleague presented that in a more business sense.
Moving from Reactive to Proactive Approach
#1 Reactive approach ‘There’s nothing I can do’; Proactive approach ‘Let’s look at other alternatives’
Instead of closing options and blocking your mind, just ask alternative options in those situations. Your subconscious power will provide you a solution without any doubt. Have faith in it as it’s connected to infinite intelligence.
#2 Reactive approach ‘That’s is just the way I am’; Proactive approach ‘I can choose a different approach’
When somebody gives you good suggestions/feedbacks, which may be helpful to you, then try to adopt them. , Many a time it happens in real life, that one suggestion changes the entire life of a person.
#3 Reactive approach ‘He makes me so sad’; Proactive approach ‘I control my own feeling’
Nobody can hurt you emotionally unless you yourself adopt that feeling. Happiness and sadness are the results of your own actions and behaviour.
#4 Reactive approach ‘I have to do this’; Proactive approach ‘I will choose an appropriate approach’
Reactive approach people feel burden while doing things. They do not enjoy the process and never feel happy and satisfied. Instead, proactive approach people choose an appropriate approach as most probably they only initiated that action & now they are enjoying the process.
#5 Reactive approach ‘If only…’; Proactive approach ‘I will…’
Reactive approach people conditioned themselves in so many ways, such that they hardly take action. Like if have a good job, then I shall have a better work-life balance. I will spare good time with my family once I got my next promotion. They conditioned their mind in EITHER-OR way instead of BOTH.
Proactive people have always committed to carrying out their actions and getting their desired results.
“I believe that everyone chooses how to approach life. If you’re proactive, you focus on preparing. If you’re reactive, you end up focusing on repairing.”- John C. Maxwell