People who are proactive don’t wait around for things to happen, they have vision and take initiative. Based on their experience, they know how to head-off inevitable mishaps before they occur. Reactive people, on the other hand, are often late to the game, underprepared, and caught off guard. They also tend to be masters of excuses as to why outside forces are to blame for their lack of preparation. I have found that proactive people tend to err on the side of embodying an internal vs. external locus of control. They are guided by a set of principled disciplines that keep them on track and ahead of the game. They certainly don’t blame circumstances or conditions for their actions. They don’t have to, because they recognize things before they become an issue.
Reactive people use negative, defeatist language that undermines their ability to perform. Words like, can’t, I will, I should, I prefer, and I hope. Where proactive people use words like, no problem, you bet, I’ll take care of it, or I’d love to. Proactive people feel they control their own destiny and are the opposite of victims. Unlike reactive people, they know they always have the power to choose. And they don’t use dire language or absolutism. Like, this is the way it’s always been, things never work out for me, or it’s just par for the course.
Proactive people respond to outside stimuli based on a higher set of principles grounded in self-confidence. Where reactive people do the opposite, they react based on a nebulous set of beliefs. You know, the rabbit hole de jour, flavor of the week stuff. Reactive people give their power away, where proactive people exercise and expand their circle of influence. Proactive people work on things they can control and don’t waste time fretting about macro type issues that focus on concerns they have little control over such as: the national debt, politics, terrorism, or the weather. Gaining awareness of areas where you place your energies is a giant toward becoming proactive. And like most everything else, it's a choice.