From Reactive to Proactive Thinking


For better or worse reactive thinking occupies the mind. It's not that we can't shift from reactive to proactive thinking. We most definitely can. It's just that reactive thinking comes so easily - it just happens to us.

Being proactive, on the other hand, requires self-awareness and stealing ourselves to the task at hand. Being able to identify reactive thought patterns, and their proactive counterparts, helps develop this important awareness towards being more proactive in life.

Ninety Five Percent of Our Thinking Is Repetitive!

Psychologists have estimated that as much as 95% of our thinking is repetitive! 

This is quite an estimate, one that would be very difficult to prove scientifically to be sure! Yet, do we really need science to tell us what close scrutiny of our very own mind reveals? Close observation of the machinations of thought may very well cause us to question whether this number may be an underestimation of the automatic, repetitive operations of the mind.

Reactive thinking is pervasive, with far reaching implications.

If so much of our thinking is repetitive and reactive where does that leave us? Surely the defining essence of human experience goes beyond mere automation and reaction. Surely we're also independent and free thinkers! We can think proactively - moving away from reactive into proactive thinking. 

What does moving from reactive to proactive thinking look like?

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From Reactive to Proactive Thinking for True Self-Expression

Fortunately, we aren't defined by repetitive thinking. The part of us that's alive can never be defined by a repetitive, lifeless cycle. Our essence can never be automated or conditioned. Proactive thinking is where true self-expression resides.

Our true inner self is proactive, never reactive. Yet subconscious reactive thinking comes to control so many aspects of our life, that we may easily forget what it even feels like to be, or think, proactively. Awareness of these subconscious reactive thinking patterns puts control back into our hands.

It allows us to see and feel when we're being proactive vs reactive. When you notice your thinking patterns shift from reactive to proactive thinking, you know you're on the right track towards your authentic self-expression ...

Reactive Thought Pattern

Proactive Alternative

"I need..."

"I want..."

"I have to..."

"I will..." Or "I willingly..."

"We should..."


"Alright, alright...I'll do it (but I'm not feeling good about it)."

"I'd love to..."

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

"I'm not making it a priority..."

"He/She is driving me crazy!!"

"No one drives me. I'm being reactive - now that's the problem."

"My boss, my job, my wife or husband, my house, my mortgage, my car, my debt, my circumstances are making things more difficult..."

"My choices make things easy or more difficult..."

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

"I appreciate the heat, cold, humidity and discomfort. They all challenge me to step away from my thinking and act as I wish."

"I wasn't ready for this opportunity because..."

"Life happens, whether I feel prepared for it or not. Other opportunities and occurrences are on their way. How can I best prepare?"

"If only..."

"Only this."

"We have/need to talk."

"Let's talk."

"Why is this happening (to me)?"

"Of course this is happening to me. Why? Who knows?! Let's work with this. How is this meant to serve me? That's the power path to follow."

"Why does life have to be this way?"

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

"Why can't I change?"

"What am I doing to open myself up to the life changes I want?"

"What's wrong with me?"

"Nothing is wrong. In fact, everything is exactly as it should be. What am I not seeing? Where's the missing piece? What's the next step? This is the life path that beckons."

The above are just some examples of the reactive thinking that so often plays out in the back of our mind. 

As you read through the examples did you notice your inner experience changing as you went from the left to the right column? Did you notice an expansion or contraction of your energy? Did you feel yourself opening up or closing down? Did you feel a growing sense of possibility or a diminishing one? 

Having brought the effects of these reactive thought patterns to the forefront of your awareness, you're now sensitized to notice when reactive thoughts emerge. You're now in a position to catch yourself 'red handed'. This awareness, in and of itself, will open the space for a proactive alternative to emerge.

As you go about your daily life, notice how these thoughts affect you. Notice how things change and shift for you as you move from reactive to proactive thinking alternatives.

Awareness for Change

Using your awareness as outlined above can change your thinking. The more you shift from reactive to proactive thinking the more authentic self-expression will be yours. You become more and more alive. You become less and less automated. And you take more and more control over what you may want automated. Inspired life change will be increasingly easier to come by and make your own.

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