A reactive person reacts to circumstances.
A proactive person creates them.
Examples of a reactive mind-state:
Something happens in your state – you protest, that is reactive.
Your significant other cheats – you confront them, that is reactive.
You hear some bad news – you get distressed, once again reactive.
You get sick – you seek medical and financial aid because the illness requires more funds than you currently have – What did you expect? That you will go trough life without hitting into trouble? If not you, then someone you care for. So, if you find yourself begging for donations – that is reactive. Sometimes, things happen that no-one can predict and plan for them, but most people ignore the basic troubles/dangers in life – Don’t be most people, don’t be reactive. If you can – Plan!
Someone just pushed you off your goal or took something from you using power/force – Did you allow this? Feel helpless? That is reactive – and a clear sign that you may need more friends and/or skills in life. Tip: we tolerate our friends and their shortcomings not because we are saints, but because one day we will (not might) need each-other.
Examples of proactive mind-state:
You want to get a job at a certain company, first you do your homework and learn everything about the company, then you think of a way that you can be useful to them, at the right moment you present a solution to their situation or a way to do something more effectively – you demonstrate this and get to know the key players in the company if they liked the way you work. Finally, you offer to stay with them long-term. That is proactive – you created the circumstances in which you are seen or needed if necessary and then you present yourself. Going on 10 interviews in a month shows desperation, not quality. Another example, you want to achieve something – you need a specific circumstance for it to happen. Therefore you don’t just wait around for the “right moment” that never comes, but you work your way to creating the perfect moment, you surround yourself with people that can help you in the long term, you gather information that is not important at the moment but might be useful in the future, you help other people in order to encourage reciprocity when and if needed. Then, after all of this you have created the circumstances needed for you to appear.
Proactive was a buzzword in the self-help community some 10 years ago. Unfortunately, people mostly understood it as doing something during the day – like being active, exercising, doing you chores/obligations on time. In reality, being a proactive person and the proactive mentality is one of the most “psychopathic” traits of all. It requires the ability to predict events and human behavior in the long term, the ability to plan, create long term goals and stick to them, lastly the ability to bend the circumstances towards achieving those goals and not be distracted by the daily happenings in the environment. Oh, and one more thing – the key in being proactive is taking the initiative. You must decide to do this, you must get out of your comfort zone and take calculated risks towards achieving your goals, you must decide to do things that seem of no importance to the people that surround you at present, you must go out of your way to become the person you must be and learn the skills you must have in order to present them in the right circumstances – you guessed it, the right circumstances that you have created.