Proactive vs. Reactive -
Take Your Life Back!

Being proactive vs. reactive - do we really have a choice? Do we choose to be reactive, or does reactivity simply come to us, uninvited? How about proactivity? Does it just happen, or do we need to cultivate it and invite more of it into our mind and into our lives?  Let's take a closer look at being proactive versus reactive and what this actually means...

The Qualitative Difference

"What you are is what you have been, what you will be is what you do now."

~The Buddha

The central distinction between being proactive vs. reactive is the difference between responding and reacting. Response is rooted in choice. Reaction is ruled by habit. Hence, 're-action', indicating an action repeated.

Reacting to circumstance - we are controlled by circumstance. Responding to circumstance we are in control of ourselves. Responding comes from our free will and intelligence; reacting is automatic and unintelligent.

When we react, we create problems both for ourselves and for others. When we respond, we eliminate problems or prevent them from occuring in the first place. This is because responses are tailored to circumstance, while reactions are triggered by it.

Victim or Sovereign?

We all want to live our lives, yet when we're caught in reactivity there's the distinct feeling that someone else is pulling the strings; we do or say things we don't intend and our life feels out of control.

This doesn't feel good. We should take this feeling as an indication that something is wrong, that things could be better. This is not the time to accept our lot and resign ourselves to 'this is just the way things are.'

Life is for the living - conscious living. It was never meant to simply be endured.

Don't get me wrong - I love endurance. I think it's a strong and admirable quality to have and to develop. Yet, it's something we should draw upon in conjunction with our creative and intelligent efforts, or after we have stretched these to the limits. We should never give endurance a bad name by calling upon it too soon. We should always awaken our true inner self first.

Being proactive vs. reactive means choice. The more proactive we become the more choice we experience in our lives. This freedom brings us a host of positive benefits including more joy and satisfaction from life. It also empowers us to live as we intend instead of having to pretend.

We can't control everything in our lives nor should we wish to. Yet, the choice of how we want to relate to life is always ours to make. It's a responsibility that can't be taken lightly by those of us serious about personal growth, self improvement and motivation.

Are We Naturally
Proactive vs. Reactive?

There's really no such thing as a proactive vs. reactive person. We are proactive and reactive beings - the potential for both is inside us.

Some of us can be powerfully proactive under certain circumstances, yet hopelessly reactive in others. For maximum personal growth we would do well to work on developing more proactivity precisely in the areas where it doesn't come naturally to us. This gives us the biggest return on our investment in ourselves.

Developing self awareness can be an important step in starting to take control of our reactive patterns. After all, without self awareness our reactive patterns have full reign to continue as before. If we want to be able to respond instead of react we need to be able to see ourselves clearly.

Reactivity comes easier to us than proactivity. To be proactive we need to work at it. Reactivity just happens; it happens when we surrender ourselves to our habitual patterns. The more proactive we aim to become, the more we will come up against the reactivity in us. This is essential since we can't work with something that we can't first 'see'.

The bottom line is this. Do we really want to be living our lives on autopilot? Reactivity is easy. But is a reactive life really easier on us? Is it easier on those we interact with and on those we love?

Being proactive or reactive is a choice each and every one of us is free to make. Yet, we owe it to ourselves and others to choose wisely.

Stepping Out-of-the-Mind

If we want our future to be different from our past, if we want to grow and develop in new and exciting ways, then proactivity needs to become a cornerstone of our lives. Reactivity is past conditioning within us - expressing itself now. Being proactive vs. reactive is the ability to break this chain of automatic reaction.

Reactivity happens when we are trapped by the mind. Proactivity happens when we step out-of-the-mind. Stepping out-of-the-mind is freedom from living compulsively, unconsciously.

The stepping stones to out-of-the-mind self improvement and motivation are meant to be walked consciously. Left to reactivity, our thoughts, words, actions and habits end up leading us to an unconscious destination. We have no idea where we are going or why. And when we arrive we have no idea how we got there. Being proactive vs. reactive, we seize each stepping stone to shape the life we envision.

Related Life Change Articles...

Subconscious Reactions

Benefits of Being Proactive

Proactive Yoda Wisdom

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