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Proactive Versus Reactive

Updated on September 16, 2014

Proactive or Reactive?

Picture yourself in a situation that is absolutely driving you crazy, and you are thinking to yourself, "This stinks. Why am I in this situation? So-and-so is really agitating me." The situation may be out of your control, but I'm about to state the obvious: you are in control of how you handle the situation. Over the past few months, I have been in situations where I was reactive, but really I needed to be proactive. I have learned that when you are reactive, it actually escalates the issue, but if you are proactive, you can diffuse the situation. Now, if you want a resource on how to handle this, there is a great book out there called: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Now, I just started reading this book recently, but it has already changed my life.

I want to share with you a scenario where I was reactive, then I will explain how I could've been proactive. I am very quick to anger, and very slow to remember James 1:19: "Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." So, I was in kind of a tense situation at work, where I was really stressed out and overwhelmed. I had to act in a timely manner, but instead, I reacted to the stress and flipped out on my supervisor. Now, obviously I really did not handle that well, and I failed to complete the task in a timely manner. Why? Because I was reactive.

Okay, Let's look at the same scenario. I'm stressed, and I need to complete a task in a timely manner, BUT this time, I listen to what I need to do. I do not speak right away, and I do not become angry. Instead, I prioritize what needs done and when. I then proceed to go above and beyond, and help my teammates complete their work in a timely and effective manner. You see, the time I spent complaining and arguing with my boss in the first scenario was reactive, and I let the situation control me, and I was not very productive. On the other hand, when I took the proactive approach, I got what I needed to get done in a timely manner, and was even able to help my teammates get their work done in a timely manner. Amazing, right!?

Being proactive is not easy (obviously) but it's worth it! Do not let the craziness of this life control you, rather be in control! So, I have an assignment for you. Write out a situation where you were reactive (or make something up) and rewrite the same scenario and how you could've been proactive. I'd love to hear your stories, so if you wouldn't mind, write it in the comments. I am looking forward to hearing your responses to this hub!

© 2014 DaveNSmith


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