7 Habits: Habit1 Be Proactive

Be Proactive – The most important habit. It forms the foundation of the 7 habits.

Becoming Proactive

To start being proactive, I need to believe that I have a certain control or power within me to choose how I would respond to a situation. This chapter also teaches conditioning -Preparing your mindset and behaviors for reactions.

Because in between the event/stimulus and my response (reaction), is the conditioning that I have in me that shapes the outcome – How I Respond? In the book, conditioning is formed by:

  1. Self Awareness
  2. Imagination
  3. Conscience
  4. Independent Will

For every action, there is a reaction, even if it is not visible or tangible. I will either be active or reactive. Meaning if I am always lacking “ready-made reactions”, I will most probably end up being reactive on impulse, which most of the time will not have the best outcome – Becoming the reaction of someone else’s action.

We are bound to make mistakes and even suffer consequences that are not of our doing. But it is how we respond to it that matters, especially because it will most likely affect my next course of action. So Here’s how to respond to mistakes:

  1. Acknowledge it – No one is perfect
  2. Correct it – Do the right thing to make it right. Don’t carry on my mistakes.
  3. Learn from it – Move on, Don’t dwell on it, and try your best not to repeat it.

Proactive is about taking initiative and responsibility to make things happen and being actively able to respond.

Change Your Language, Change Your Response

Where I focus on is where I will create an impact. In this section, I will discuss the power of language as discussed in the book.

I always like such a template – “ready-made reactions”, where I can create a poster of what am I thinking negatively and to have immediate turnaround solutions to set me on a better path to approach my problems. I will share my template with you in the near future. Here’s what in the book:

If you are thinking… Start thinking…
There’s nothing I can do.
That’s just the way I am.
He makes me so mad.
They won’t allow that.
I have to do that.
I can’t.
I must.
If only.
Let’s look at our alternatives.
I can choose a different approach.
I control my own feelings.
I can create an effective presentation.
I will choose an appropriate response.
I choose.
I prefer.
I will.

“It is not what happens to us, but our response to what happens to us that hurts us”

This also forms one of the most popular lessons / “equation” in the book:

Life = 90% Response + 10%Events

No one except myself can break me spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. Likewise, no one can pick me up except me. A motivational speaker can help me find all the reasons I need in my life to set me back on the path to greatness. But ultimately, I am the one carrying out all the actions to achieve it.

Proactive people are more value-based and emotionally strong as they tend to not let their feelings get in their way. We can’t please everyone. Even the greatest idol on earth will have a hate fan club. So just focus on areas where we can make an impact in our life – I am living my life for myself, not for others!

Do what you can within your means

In the last part, we talk about the circle of influence and the circle of concern.

Circle of influence is about the aspect in life where I have total control – Where I get to choose; Take actions and make things happen. The circle of concern is the areas in life where I care, but can’t do much.

The books also talk about how being proactive will grow the influence in my life and thus shrinking the areas where I don’t have an impact. And how staying focus on my effort in this circle will empower me overtime

  • Proactive Focus Widens our Circle of Influence
  • Reactive Focus Reduces our circle of Influence

My final pointers for this section:

  • Control the environment; Don’t become a slave of the environment.
  • Where I focus is Where I Impact – Focus on my strength will make me grow stronger while focusing on my weakness will make me weaker.
  • Show my capability; Change the Perception of People and I will start to influence them – It may not be an instant moment.
  • Don’t think of what I have (That’s for the lesson of Gratitude) – Think of what I can be.
  • I may be lousy at first, and I will only become better if I am willing to put in efforts. I will still be lousy if I don’t try – Even if no one else knows about it, I know me Best.

Now it’s your turn to share with me what you have learned and apply in this chapter:

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