Friday, March 25, 2011

Reactive and Proactive Persons

As human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. Look at the word responsibility -- "response-ability" -- the ability to choose your response. Highly proactive people recognize that responsibility. They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, rather than a product of their conditions, based on feeling.

Reactive people are often affected by their physical environment. If the weather is good, they feel good. If it isn't, it affects their attitude and their performance. Proactive people can carry their own weather with them. Whether it rains or shines makes no difference to them. They are value driven; and if their value is to produce good quality work, it isn't a function of whether the weather is conducive to it or not.

Reactive people are also affected by their social environment, by the "social weather." When people treat them well, they feel well; when people don't, they become defensive or protective. Reactive people build their emotional lives around the behavior of others, empowering the weaknesses of other people to control them.

Reactive people are driven by feelings, by circumstances, by conditions, by their environment. Proactive people are driven by values -- carefully thought about, selected and internalized values.

As Eleanor Roosevelt observed, "No one can hurt you without your consent. They cannot take away our self respect if we do not give it to them."

It is our willing permission, our consent to what happens to us, that hurts us far more than what happens to us in the first place.
Sridham Krishna Das,


KalpanaS said...

This is post helps us not to slip into 'victim mode/mood'.
The post reminded me of how Bhagavad Gita helps one to recognise 'tamasic'reactiveness and 'rajasic' proactiveness, so as to move towards a sattwic equilibrium between the too.

Sarayu said...

Very interesting article! I believe there are different ways to become proactive or to develop an internal locus of control.

Here is a growth group TalkItOver is organizing which might be one such path to becmong proactive: