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Thoughts about Habit 1: Be Proactive

To Live Proactively

I'm rereading 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and in reading the chapter on the first private victory habit (Be Proactive) I stumbled into a gold mine of excerpts that resonated with me where I am today.

Our unique human endowments lift us above the animal world. The extent to which we exercise and develop these endowments empowers us to fulfill our uniquely human potential. Between stimulus and response is our greatest power — the freedom to choose. (p 78)

Gut punch 1: stimulus and response are guaranteed, our response is a result of our freedom to choose.

It [proactivity] means that as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions (p 78)

Gut punch 2: My life is not a function of what comes my way but how I choose to exercise my freedom to choose to respond to it.

Reactive people are often affected by their physical environment. [...] Proactive people can carry their own weather with them. Whether it rains or shines makes no difference to them. They are value driven; and if their value is to produce good quality work, it isn't a function of whether the weather is conductive to it or not. (p 79)

Proactive people carry their own weather. What a great thought.

Proactive people are driven by values — carefully thought about, selected and internalized values. (p 79)

To be proactive, you have to intentionally seek out and internalize the values that matter to you. They can't just be a couple of nice thoughts on paper; they have to be literally core to who you are.

Proactive people are still influenced by extrenal stimuli, whether physical, social, or psychological. But their response to their stimuli, conscious or unconscious, is a value-based choice or response. (p 79)

The major takeaway for me here is that most of the time I am reactive. When some circumstance or condition surface in my life, depending on whether it's "good" or "bad", I allow it to own the way I feel.

A proactive person (what I'd rather strive for) finds their anchor in their values; the internalized beliefs that will not waver regardless of the gravity of change or uncertainty.

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