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Proactive vs. Reactive

Updated on March 3, 2011


Proactivity vs. Reactivity

Proactivity and reactivity are common terms in the business world. Few of you reading this though, are businesspeople, or need business advice, so I will explain this in terms of a high-schooler. The ability to be proactive and realize that you can become proactive is one thing that will improve your lifestyle forever.

Lets start by finding out what the opposite of proactivity is. Ok, I found it, it's reactivity. The definition of reactivity is tending to be responsive or to react to a stimulus. Reactive people base their emotions off of how other people are feeling. If that person were to go through the day, and everyone was upbeat, giving them high-fives, and complimenting how good they look, that person would have a good day. Most of us would. But if that same person were to go through the day and no one greeted them or showed that same positive attitude as the day before, that person would not have a fun or even productive day. A proactive person could have turned that day around.

The definition of proactivity is tending to initiate change rather than reacting to events. A proactive person is one who has a positive outlook no matter what the circumstances. It doesn't matter if it is stormy outside and their driveway just got socked with two feet of snow. That person will look at his driveway as an opportunity to improve his upper body strength shoveling snow. They might even shovel their neighbors driveway just to be a good person. A proactive person carries their own sunshine on their shoulder and stays optimistic in almost all situations. Proactive thinking people see opportunities, and create their own opportunities. They can think up creative ideas that benefit others and implement them. Proactive people can only be hurt emotionally if they choose for something to hurt them emotionally. Like Eleanor Roosevelt said, "No one can hurt you without your consent." or in the words of Gandhi, "They cannot take away our self respect if we do not give it to them."

Those reactive people out there should realize that having the power to choose our response to certain circumstances, empowers us to create certain circumstances. Most people wait for someone to tell them what to do. But those who end up with happy successful lives or make money through internet ideas are the proactive ones who create solutions to problems, not problems themselves, who do whatever is necessary within reason, to get the job done.


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