Reactive Thinking and Self Motivation

For better or worse, reactive thinking is part of our lives. It's not that we don't have the capacity to be proactive and self-motivated. We do. It's just that to become more proactive vs. reactive takes practice and conscious application. Being reactive is easy - it just happens to us. Being proactive, on the other hand, is something that we actually need to do.

Ninety Five Percent Of Thinking Is Repetitive

Psychologists have estimated that as much as 95% of our thought patterns are repetitive. This is quite a statement to make - and one that would be very difficult to prove scientifically to be sure.

Yet, there is no need to wait for science to tell us what we can find out by simply observing our own mind. Self improvement and motivation are matters of moment-to-moment awareness. Our lives are happening now! Learning to observe the mind is a basic self help skill to master.

If it is true that most of our 'thinking' is repetitive then where does that leave us? If most of our thinking is unoriginal, regurgitated and essentially thoughtless then where do we fit into the picture? Where are we? Where is our say?

Good question! A question that takes us right into the heart of self improvement and motivation.

How often do we identify with our repetitive and reactive thinking? How often do we mistake this mechanical apparatus for ourselves, for who we are? To self motivate, we need to bring something new into the picture. We can't rely on our repetitive and automatic thought patterns to take is where we now want to go.

Reactive thinking, reccuring thought patterns, the whole repetitive 'thinking' apparatus - is conditioned. For better or worse, it's become habit. Yet, it isn't the whole of who we are. We do have a say and we can bring our own fresh and original thinking to bear on our conditioning. We have the power to depart from reactive tendencies to set our own course.

The part of us that is truly alive can never be captured in a repetitive, lifeless cycle. We are much more than that. Realizing this we start dipping our feet into the warm waters of self motivation.

What Drives You?

"Man is born free but he is everywhere in chains."

~Jean Jacques Rousseau

We speak and act all day long, yet how often do we notice the thinking that spawns our words and actions? We're mostly unaware of the thinking that goes on in the back of our mind. Yet, to a large extent, our hidden thought patterns are what motivates or demotivates us.

Language reveals thought. Here is a short list of some reactive thinking vs. proactive thought patterns expressed in language. See if you can identify with some of these habitual thought patterns...

Reactive Thinking...

Proactive Alternative...

"I need to..."

"I want to..."

"I have to..."

"I will..."

"We should..."


"Oh, all right...I'll do it."

"It would be my pleasure" or "I would love to."

"I don't have enough time to..."

"I am not making it a priority..."

"He is driving me crazy!"

"No one drives me. I'm being reactive, that's the real problem."

"My boss, my job, my wife, my husband, my circumstances, my life are..."

"What am I doing about it? Ah...umh...? That's the real problem."

"It's too hot, cold, humid, wet, uncomfortable to..."

"I can actually appreciate the heat, cold, humidity, and discomfort - they challenge me to overcome my thinking and they never stop me from doing what I want."

"It's not fair, I wasn't ready because..."

"Life happens when we aren't ready for it. Whatever we did in the moment is a true reflection of how prepared we were. Other chances are already on their way, so how can I best prepare myself?"

"If only..."

"Only this."

"We have to talk."

"Let's have a talk" or "Let's talk."

"Why is this happening (to me)?"

"Of course this is happening. Why? That's anyones guess. What am I doing about it? Now that's the real question."

"Why does life have to be this way?"

"Life is the way it is. What can I do to change my thinking or feeling about it?"

"Why can't I change?"

"What am I doing to open myself up to change?"

"What's wrong with me?"

"Nothing is wrong with me. What am I failing to see? What's the next step I can take?"

As you read these expressions of thinking, which feel more self-motivating to you, the expressions in the right column or the left? A person speaking and thinking in the language of the left column - are they more or less likely to feel self motivated than a person using the language to the right?

The language we use, and the habitual thought patterns they represent and reinforce, is our responsibility. Choosing between the left and right columns is a choice. When we make these choices on a moment-to-moment basis it becomes a practice. And as the saying goes, 'practice doesn't make perfect, it makes permanent.'

A way to enhance your practice is to use a personal development journal or diary to look out for reactive language and thought patterns and replace them with proactive thought patterns instead. Getting good at this practice you become more and more proactive vs. reactive in your life.

A powerful antidote to reactive thinking is exposing the mind to new inspirational thought patterns. This quotations ebook has been put together with exactly this goal in mind...

1,000 Inspirational Quotes for Stepping Out-of-the-Mind
Click book cover for details.

Related out-of-the-mind self improvement and motivation articles:

Proactive vs. reactive living

How to take initiative

To thine own self be true

Return from Reactive Thinking to Self Help Motivation

Return from Reactive Thinking to Out-of-the-Mind Self Improvement and Motivation Homepage

Protected by Copyscape Duplicate Content Software

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

"Evolutionary Pathways is, without a doubt, one of the most powerful motivational websites in cyberspace." ~ L.A. Author of Dream Journey.

1,000 Inspirational Quotes for Stepping Out-of-the-Mind

Click image for details.


Search a particular topic or browse over 750 self hypnosis downloads

Search for:

Be aware! Extremely soothing and relaxing music below...

Utter-calm may result from careless image clicks.

ascension meditation and relaxation download

More meditation and relaxation music here.