The Importance of ProactivityPosted in : HR Updates on 31 October 2023
I recently finished reading Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
For those of you that haven’t read it, this is a business and self-help book, first published in 1989, and is a must-read for anyone seeking to lead a more fulfilling career and personal life.
Habit 1, “Be Proactive”, is the most important habit as all the others depend on it, and even if you only apply 1 habit from the book, this should be it. Being proactive is more than just about having initiative as it emphasises the importance of having a can-do attitude.
The underpinning message behind habit 1 is that we have a choice in terms of how we decide to respond to things, even in the worst of circumstances. People who embody habit 1 realise that they determine how they react to things and have the power to make things happen. Proactive people choose positive language such as, “seize the day” or, “go for it”. They see solutions to problems rather than allow problems to control them, as reactive people would.
Stephen Covey describes how there are things within and outside of our control. He calls these are “Circle of Concern” such as our family, the environment or World Peace. Our “Circle of Influence” sits within our “Circle of Concern” and includes all the things that we can control such as our family, our job, our exercise routine etc. Proactive people focus their energies on the things they can do something about whereas reactive people blame things outside their control such as inflation or the weather. I have to admit, the weather always seems to play a part in my mood. It’s probably a Northern Irish trait but how often do we look outside, see the grey clouds and the rain and feel disheartened? When you think about it, it’s silly to let something that we cannot control, impact our mood for the day.
In Victor Frankl’s words, “Between the stimulus and response there is a space. And in that space lies our freedom and power to choose our responses. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” In other words, regardless of what is happening to us, no matter how unthinkable including the atrocities in the Nazi concentration camps, we can choose to find a positive meaning. If that doesn’t give us the motivation to take control, then I am not sure what would!
“The 7 Habits of highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey:
The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People: Revised and Updated: 30th Anniversary Edition: Amazon.co.uk: Covey, Stephen R.: 9781471195204: Books
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