People who have such a skill as proactivity almost never lose their temper, do not lose their balance. They have a clear plan, confidently pursue the intended goal. What kind of skill is this? How does it develop? How do you become a proactive person?
What are proactivity and reactivity?
These qualities determine the success of absolutely all areas of life, are two opposite concepts:
- Proactivity can be explained on the example of simple synonyms for understanding – purposefulness, responsibility, activity, initiative. It is an attitude to life, focused on its own values and principles, changing circumstances to meet the needs, awareness of the freedom of choice without infringement of their own and others’ rights.
- Reactivity, on the contrary, is characterized by a passive attitude and unconscious reaction to what is happening, which is expressed in excessive emotionality, inability to control what is going on. It is inherent in the person to blame circumstances and those around him or her.
The first trait is characteristic of successful people, and the second trait is characteristic of outsiders. A proactive person finds a way out of any situation. A reactive person can be realized only in the most favorable conditions, and at the slightest change in circumstances is not able to do anything, fails.
The skill of being proactive
The concept was introduced by the Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, who wrote the book “Say Yes to Life. It was published after the author had been in a concentration camp. It was this skill that allowed him to endure all the hardships without losing his inner freedom, convictions, belief in the meaning of existence.
The skill of proactivity is, in simple words, the conscious ability to choose a reaction to the circumstances. It allows a person to be fully aware of responsibility for his own destiny, demonstrating good judgment in any situation.
Principles and Examples of Psychology
Everyone can become proactive. The development of this skill is based on a clear understanding of its basic principles:
- Freedom of choice as a response to a stimulus without emotional reaction.
- Careful analysis of the implementation of the forthcoming task and prevention of possible problems.
- Conscious responsibility for each step taken on the way to achieving the goal.
- Quick decision-making in any situation due to flexible thinking.
- Constant analysis and improvement of own behavior.
- Proper questioning that allows prediction, i.e. “what if…?”, and possible answers.
Proactivity and equanimity should not be confused. The latter implies the absence of reaction, while the former also implies the successful avoidance of a stimulus. You can understand the difference by a simple example: “In 15 minutes you need to walk one kilometer from the planned point A to point B, but it rained and the road is almost washed away.
An unperturbed person will walk calmly, knowing even that he will be late. The reactive person, seeing the slush, will simply not go and say that the rain is to blame. A proactive person will check the weather forecast in advance, put on the appropriate footwear, lay the route on the map, meet the designated time or finish the journey earlier.
In psychology, there are many tests and exercises that allow you to quickly check the presence of this skill. The simplest is the question “Whose fault is it that the boy tripped over the bench? Toddlers three to four years old blame the bench, and those over six blame the child who didn’t see it in the path. What, it seems, do children have to do with it? Adults blaming circumstances and others essentially remain immature and not proactive.
It is even easier to understand what we are talking about by the example of a fish that sees the bait on the hook. It can swallow it, swim on. This is the freedom to choose to be proactive. The decision is always yours. The less emotion, the easier it is to decide what to do. Their absence on a stimulus allows you to completely ignore problems, going on to your goal.
Proactivity books for development
Proactive behavior is constant self-control, increased self-demand, and the ability to see how to achieve a goal by anticipating or quickly finding a way out of a problem situation. The following books, popular with both ordinary readers and managers, can help develop this skill:
- “Be the best version of yourself” by D. Waldschmidt.
- “Five Skills of Proactive Thinking” by D. Miller.
- “Man in Search of Meaning” by W. Frankl.
- “7 Skills of Highly Effective People” by S. Covey.
The main thing is not just to study what is written, but to put into practice all the knowledge you get and to work tirelessly to be responsible, purposeful, and proactive.
Video about the skill of being proactive