P is for ‘Proactivity’

9:40:00 am

Today’s letter for the AtoZ Blogging Challenge is ‘P’ for my theme ‘A to Z of Effectiveness’. You can read more about my theme here. I’m also participating in the NaBloPoMo for April.

Did you know that Microsoft Word doesn’t consider ‘proactivity’ a real word? When you type it in you get suggestions for words like ‘proactively’ and ‘reactivity’. Reactivity – now that’s interesting.

When you hear someone talking about being proactive, it sounds like they’re trying to take some kind of action to move forward. While that’s true, it isn’t all what proactivity is about. In his book, ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, Stephen Covey equates proactivity with taking responsibility for our lives. We talked about feeling in control of our lives in ‘E for Empowerment’. But proactivity is more; it’s about choosing between being reactive and responsible.

When you’re a reactive person, your life is a result of choices made by factors outside your control – family, childhood circumstances, societal norms, cultural conditioning. Such people are driven by impulses and moods triggered by something else – a rude driver, a cloudy day, a power cut.

When you’re a responsible person, your life follows the path you choose. You decide your mood for the day, despite external circumstances. You decide that it’s sunny and bright; doesn’t matter if it’s raining cats and dogs outside!

In short, proactivity is the ability to overcome your impulses and move forward with a focus on your goals. Of course, you do need a good amount of strength for this, especially if like me, you’ve spent years of your life being reactive!! There’s no doubt now that proactivity is a word you need to add to the dictionary – yours as well as Microsoft Word’s!!

Are you a reactive or proactive person? Have you been this way all your life?

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