Habit 1, Be Proactive, is the key to unlocking all the other habits and thatís why it comes first. Habit 1 says, ďI am the force. I am the captain of my life. I can choose my attitude. Iím responsible for my own happiness or unhappiness. I am in the driverís seat of my destiny, not just a passenger.Ē
Being proactive is the first step toward achieving the private victory. You canít do habits 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 before doing Habit 1. Thatís because until you feel you are in charge of your own life, nothing else is really possible.
Each day you and I have about 100 chances to choose whether to be proactive or reactive. Reactive people make choices based on impulse. They are like a can of soda. If life shakes them up a bit, the pressure builds and they suddenly explode. Proactive people make choices based on values. They think before they act. They recognize they canít control everything that happens to them, but they can control what they do about it. Unlike reactive people who are full of carbonation, proactive people are like water. Shake them up all you want, take off the lid, and nothing. No fizzing, no bubbling, no pressure. They are calm, cool, and in control.
You can usually hear the difference between proactive and reactive people by the language they use. Reactive people usually sound like this:
ďThatís me. Thatís just the way I am.Ē What theyíre really saying is, Iím not responsible for the way I act. I canít change. I was predetermined this way.
ďThanks a lot. You just ruined my day.Ē What theyíre really saying is, Iím not in control of my own moods. You are.
Notice that reactive language takes power away from you and gives it to something or someone else.
Reactive Language††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Proactive Language
Iíll try††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Iíll do it
Thatís just the way I am†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† I can do better than that
I have to†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† I choose to
I canít†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Thereís got to be a way
Some people suffer from a contagious virus called ďvictimitis.Ē Perhaps you have seen it. People infected with victimitis believe that everyone has it in for them and that the world owes them somethingÖwhich isnít the case at all.
Besides feeling like victims, reactive people:
Proactive people are a different breed. Proactive people:
Youíre right, being reactive is so much easier. Itís easy to lose your cool. That doesnít take any control. And itís easy to whine and complain. But without question, being proactive is the higher road.
∑ We Can Control Only One Thing
The fact is, we canít control everything that happens to us. But there is one thing we can control: how we respond to what happens to us.
Picture two circles. The inner circle is our circle of control. It includes things we have control over, such as ourselves, our attitudes, our choices, our responses to whatever happens to us. Surrounding the circle of control is the circle of no control. It includes the thousands of things we canít do anything about.
Now, what will happen if we spend our time and energy worrying about things we canít control, like a rude comment, a past mistake, or the weather? You guessed it! Weíll feel even more out of control, as if we were victims.
Proactive people focus on the things they can control. By doing so they experience inner peace and gain more control of their lives. They learn to smile about and live with the many things they canít do anything about. They may not like them, but they know its no use worrying.
Being proactive really means two things. First, you take responsibility for your life. Second, you have a ďcan-doĒ attitude. Can-do is very different from ďno-can-do.Ē Just take a peek.
Can-do people† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† No-Can-do people
Take initiative to make it happen†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Wait for something to happen
Think about solutions and options†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Think about problems
Act†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Are acted upon†††††††††††††††††††††††††
∑ Just Push Pause
So when someone is rude, where do you get the power to resist being rude back? For starters just push pause. Yep, just reach up and push the pause button to your life just as you would on a remote control. (The push button can be found somewhere in the middle of your forehead.) Sometimes life is moving so fast that we instantly react to everything out of sheer habit. If you can learn to pause, get control, and think about how you want to respond, youíll make smarter decisions. Yes, your environment can influence you, but they canít make you do anything. You are not determined but are free to choose.
While your life is on pause, open up your toolbox (the one you were born with) and use your four human tools to help you decide what to do. These tools are self-awareness, conscience, imagination, and willpower.
Self-Awareness: I can stand apart from myself and observe my thoughts and actions.
Conscience: I can listen to my inner voice to know right from wrong
Imagination: I can envision new possibilities. It allows us to escape our present circumstances and create new possibilities in our heads. It gives us a chance to visualize our futures and dream up what would like to become.
Willpower: I have the power to choose, to control my emotions, and to overcome my habits and instincts.
1. Reactive people make choices based on ___________________. Proactive people make choices based on ______________________________.
2. List three examples of reactive language:
3. List three examples of proactive language:
4. Reactive language I use most: ______________________________________________________________________________________
5. List three characteristics of reactive people:
6. List three characteristics of proactive people:
7. Identify something in your circle of no control that you are always worrying about. Decide now to drop it. Thing that I canít control that I always worry about: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
8. Define Self-Awareness: ______________________________________________________________________________________.
9. Define Conscience: ______________________________________________________________________________________.
10. Define Imagination: ______________________________________________________________________________________.
11. Define Willpower: ______________________________________________________________________________________.
12. Use your tool of self-awareness right now by asking yourself, ďWhat is my most unhealthy habit?Ē Make up your mind to do something about it.
Most unhealthy habit: ___________________________________________________________________
What Iím going to do about it: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________