Being Proactive at Work and Life

After reading some paragraphs in the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey I have come to realized that I was missing a lot of stuff to be highly effective in my life and work. But in first place maybe the reason why my life is very slow in pacing was because I lack this:

Habit 1: Be Proactive.

Your life doesn’t just “happen.” Whether you know it or not, it is carefully designed by you. The choices, after all, are yours. You choose happiness. You choose sadness. You choose decisiveness. You choose ambivalence. You choose success. You choose failure. You choose courage. You choose fear. Just remember that every moment, every situation, provides a new choice. And in doing so, it gives you a perfect opportunity to do things differently to produce more positive results.

Therefore if your goal in life is happiness, choose to be happy. The results we get in life are based on the choices we make. We must always remember that we are that I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul (Invictus by William Ernest Henley).

Be Proactive is about taking responsibility for your life. You can’t keep blaming everything on your parents or grandparents. Proactive people recognize that they are “response-able.” They don’t blame genetics, circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. They know they choose their behavior. Reactive people, on the other hand, are often affected by their physical environment. They find external sources to blame for their behavior. If the weather is good, they feel good. If it isn’t, it affects their attitude and performance, and they blame the weather. All of these external forces act as stimuli that we respond to. Between the stimulus and the response is your greatest power–you have the freedom to choose your response. One of the most important things you choose is what you say. Your language is a good indicator of how you see yourself. A proactive person uses proactive language–I can, I will, I prefer, etc. A reactive person uses reactive language–I can’t, I have to, if only. Reactive people believe they are not responsible for what they say and do–they have no choice.

Oh my goodness I was struck hard by this. I blame my parents for giving me a miserable kid’s life until college, for not providing all I need to grow, to be matured, to reason well, and to help me choose wise decisions. I know all of these are useless blaming now and I already accepted that past can never be changed and I should move on but something in the deepness of my heart still aches at that gaping hole. It is not a matter of responding anymore, this is memory that needs to be erased.

Of course we couldn’t do much about this uncrontrollanle factors in our life, the only thing that matter now is the response we’re gonna make not dampen the effect but to drive it to a more fruitful situation like success. As the book says you have the freedom to choose your response.

Instead of reacting to or worrying about conditions over which they have little or no control, proactive people focus their time and energy on things they can control. The problems, challenges, and opportunities we face fall into two areas–Circle of Concern and Circle of Influence.

This part is very useful for metrics we maintain to get high appraisal during promotion or salary increase. We focus more on the controllable side of metrics like attendance, productivity, quality, etc. However some people like when I was working in a call center, I cannot really make my CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) 100% all the time, that part is uncontrollable because the callers answer the the surveys.

Proactive people focus their efforts on their Circle of Influence. They work on the things they can do something about: health, children, problems at work. Reactive people focus their efforts in the Circle of Concern–things over which they have little or no control: the national debt, terrorism, the weather. Gaining an awareness of the areas in which we expend our energies in is a giant step in becoming proactive.

Therefore in life and at work, being proactive is being a task looker, having the hunger to do something that would contribute to the general goal of the specifics can help us to step ahead.

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