I’m sure that the difference between proactive and reactive behavior isn’t completely new to you. It’s a concept presented by Stephen Covey and greatly popularized in management and personal development practices.
Switching from being reactive to being proactive makes a really big difference in life. Much less firefighting, stress, anxiety and fewer unexpected situations. Even though proactive thinking takes the quality of life to a completely new level, it’s often not enough to really live the good life.
If you want the best life possible, you have to take proactive behavior one step further. I call it superproactivity. In this blog post, I will teach you how to be superproactive in life, to get to the best that life has to offer to you. It’s crazy how good the results that superproactive thinking brings are, so bear with me.
Proactive and reactive behavior
To refresh your memory, being reactive means that you don’t take any initiative or make strategic decisions in life, you just go where life kicks you; and then you react to what happens to you, sometimes with positive, but more often with negative feelings.
On the other hand, the main idea of being proactive is that you ask yourself what’s likely to happen and you act accordingly to get the best possible outcome. You act before a situation becomes a source of frustration or crisis.
“I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” – Wayne Gretzky
A very important difference between being reactive or proactive is also if you act out of the victim mindset or out of optimal thinking, if your actions are based on fixed or growth mindset, and the most importantly if you are prepared to take full responsibility for your life.
When you stop playing the victim and take full responsibility for your life, and when you clearly see all the options you have with the abundance mindset, you become much more proactive, which naturally leads to making more strategic and smarter decisions about your life and future.
Making more strategic decisions about your life includes at least setting goals, creating opportunities for yourself instead of just waiting for them to appear, applying personal core values in making decisions, and being aware that you always have a choice and that you’re the one choosing your own unique response.
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With proactive behavior, you become aware that life doesn’t just happen, but that you’re the one who designs your life, you’re the one making choices. With proactive thinking, you focus on things you can change, you make a plan of how you’ll really change them and then go after your goals, while at the same time accepting the things you can’t change.
|Reactive language||Proactive language|
|I need||I want|
|I must||I prefer|
|I can’t||I can|
|I have to||I choose|
|If only||I will|
A proactive person is a person who gets things done.
The most reactive life situations
Recommendations and examples of proactive behavior are especially focused on setting goals, getting things done at work, and managing your life and career.. But there are situations in life where we tend to be exponentially more reactive. There are the areas of life where we simply expect “greater forces” to do the hard work instead of us.
In these situations, we all tend to be behave super reactively. What am I talking about? Here are the big two:
- Intimate relationships: You wait to fall in love
- Career: You want to do something that you’re passionate about
And here are a few other things I can add to the list:
- Raising children: Everyone has kids, so we all just know how to raise kids
- Information consumption: You read what appears on your social network timelines
- Pension: You hope the government will take care of your pension
- Sex: Nature took care of everything, you just have to put it/get it in
- Job security: Diploma and a job contract with a strong union backup is what I need
To go into details, these are quite popular unrealistic expectations that people have in life:
You expect to randomly meet someone new and then the magic will start to happen. They’re smart, beautiful, charismatic, you could eat them alive. It’s love at first sight, you go on the first date, everything works perfectly and then you live happily ever after.
You expect to be naturally good at the work you do, that you’re talented for it and are thus something special. When you do this kind of work, you’re consequently of course passionate, happy, it’s easy to get a job, everybody admires you and all you get are successes and promotions. Like it is in love, so it must be at work.
You expect the government to take care of your financial future. And your insurance and mutual fund management company. You’re saving money in 401k and in a mutual fund, and your financial advisor showed you the graph of how you’re going to have millions when you retire. The government will take care of stable financial markets and everything will go perfectly.
Nature made sure you instinctively know how to have sex as well as how to raise children. It’s already taken care of, the only thing you have to do is to enjoy and behave naturally. Everyone does it relatively okay, so why put in any additional effort.
And for your education and lifelong learning, your friends recommending articles on social networks can take care of it. They surely know what kind of information consumption is best for you.
As far as things that matter most in life are concerned, you expect someone else to take care of them. That is the most reactive behavior ever.
You give your personal power away to:
- Acquaintances on social networks etc.
You expect to have natural talents, so you don’t have to work hard for your success. You expect to naturally know how to have good sex and how to raise kids, because it’s something you should enjoy in life and not put in any effort.
You expect your government and your financial consultant will take care of your money. At the end of the day, you even pay them to do it. You expect love to take care of your intimate relationships, you just want to enjoy them. And why do you have so many friends on social networks if it isn’t for spying on what they’re doing and reading what they’re reading.
Do you really think this is a smart strategy? It’s not. But what is an alternative? Well, it’s time for superproactivity!
Superproactivity means taking full and complete responsibility for your life, including the areas where you expect nature, love, government, church or whoever to take care of things instead of you. You take responsibility for your own life in the hardest areas ever. To do that, you have to first accept the truth.
Hollywood movies lie to you. There is no love at first sight that lives happily ever after without any effort. Love at first sight only means that you biologically and genetically fit with someone, to have offspring, of course. It’s nothing special, it happens to every living being on the planet. But it's your job to figure out if there is also an intellectual, emotional, spiritual, social, practical fit. And if doesn’t, you have every right to end the relationship.
There is no such thing as the one. There is only the question of making the right choice or the wrong one. You have to honestly ask yourself if you’re prepared to suffer years and years of your life with the wrong person, because you fell in love and it lasted for a few months. You can’t blame love, only yourself. You are the one who makes the choice.
Media and successful people lie to you. It’s not about having talent and passion for something and then easily becoming successful and rich. Passion comes with effort, with becoming good at something. Becoming good at something takes years and years of hard work, and many ups and downs.
You can’t just sit and hope that maybe your boss will give you a task where your passion will magically awaken and your work will become more meaningful. That’s the easy way that doesn’t happen in real life. What you really need is to have a rough idea of what you’re good at. And then become really good at it. You need to level up your game. And go through all the crap (Criticism, Rejections, Assholes, Pressure) while doing it.
The crap of first being a newbie, when everything sucks and you are confused and nothing works as you’d like it to. The crap of failing again and again. You have to put in at least 10,000 hours of hard work. Slowly, you will become a master and then the passion will awaken. Success is hard work, not only having talent and passion and hoping that your boss will notice it.
I don’t even want to mention the financial industry and government. They don’t care about your financial future. They care about theirs. Nobody knows what will happen with markets in 5, 10 or 15 years nor what will happen with the governments. But they get their fees now and that’s what matters to them.
Remember, only one thing grows when handled by other people. It’s not your money. It’s a penis, no matter how stupid it sounds. The only way for you to have sound financial future is to get financially educated, care about every dollar you earn and carefully pay attention to every dollar you invest. You have to do the hard work.
It’s the same with getting educated and following lifelong learning. Your diploma won’t take care of your job security. Unions and employment contracts won’t do it. Only skills, competences and providing value to markets will. You’ll have to do all the hard work (and smart work), you’ll have to become the best version of yourself.
It goes completely the same for the most basic human things like raising kids and having sex. Nature didn’t take care of either of them. Bad sex exists. And messed-up kids exist. Both happen more often than you think. You can’t just assume things will go okay by themselves, because nature took care of it. “Sex is like pizza. Even if it's bad, it's still good” is one of the worst quotes ever.
You want to get educated, you want to talk to people and share experiences, you want to level up your game, you want to become an expert in fundamental things in life, you can’t just hope that someone else or something else will take care of it. That’s looking for the easy way. And the easy way always gets hard with time.
Hope is not a strategy.
Go beyond proactive and reactive, become a superproactive person
Yes, with time, the easy road becomes hard and the hard road becomes easy. That’s why you want to choose the hard road. Choosing the hard road means taking power away from nature, love, government, religion and social networks into your own hands.
It means that you don’t fall in love and marry the first person you meet, but that you date, get to know your preferences and search until you find your fit. It means that you don’t hope for a spark of passion at work, but that you follow your effort, become a master of something that markets want and strategically find the best option to provide value, either at a company that’s your perfect fit or as a freelancer and entrepreneur. You can do both things in the AARRR way.
Being superproactive means that you strategically decide what you will read and you read a lot, always keep educating yourself and constantly strive to become the best version of yourself. You definitely also educate yourself in the areas where average people assume that nature, religion, government or whoever took care of things.
As a superproactive person, you become financially educated and pay very close attention to every dollar that comes into your life. As a superproactive person, you aren’t just a parent, you make sure you become an extraordinary parent.
These are all the things that lead to a really good life, to the best life possible. Taking responsibility for your own life, where the default expectation of an average person is for someone else to take care of it.
There are three kinds of people: those who make things happen, those who watch what happens, and those who wonder what happened.
Putting yourself in a position of many options
To be really superproactive in life, you have to put yourself in the position of having many options. That is a difficult, but very rewarding thing to do.
For intimate relationships, you have to develop dating skills, you have to risk rejections, increase your sexual market value, and so on. To some people it comes naturally, for others it takes years of hard work. But when you’re in a position of many options, you can easily choose the best fit for you.
For your career, you have to strategically develop your competences, build your network, prepare a list of business ideas or companies you want to work for, become extremely good at marketing and reaching out to people and convincing them that you can provide value.
For developing your competences, you have to build yourself superior infostructure, you have to watch MOOCs instead of TV, unsubscribe from distractions on social networks, become a proactive reader, and so on. By doing that, you can develop many different skills that you can offer on the markets, and that gives you many options for when and how to advance your career.
To have a sound financial future, you have to take full responsibility for your money. Being superproactive, you know that nobody will take care of your financial future, so you make sure you save money, know different types of investments, manage every dollar you earn, become tough on your advisors, pay attention to the financial market pulse, and so on.
People who save money are people who have options. People in debt are people with almost zero options.
You want to make the right choices in life that lead you to having more options. That brings freedom and that brings the ability to be superproactive in your life. All you need for superproactivity is a superior life strategy, smart work and a little bit of courage. At the end of the day, it’s super fun to be superproactive and it gives you great results.
In which areas of life are you giving away your personal power?
Reading my blog, you’ve probably already developed the growth mindset, abundance mindset and optimal thinking. You’ve also probably heard of proactive behavior. Now it’s time for you to become a superproactive person.
The first step is to have all ten different life areas in mind:
- Your personality – knowing yourself, your beliefs, values, behavioral patterns, daily habits, your ideal self, your life strategy etc.
- Your environment – country, city, home, office etc.
- Health and primary needs (body)
- Fitness / Sports
- Other (sleep, sex, breathing …)
- Relationships and people skills (love and belonging)
- Family (primary, secondary)
- Money and wealth
- Career, achievements and respect
- Emotions (your emotional body)
- Competences – Intelligence, knowledge and skills (your intellectual body)
- Formal education (degree, certificates …)
- Informal education
- Fun, creativity and travel
- Spirituality, self-actualization and giving back to the world (your spiritual body)
- Technology as leverage for being more productive in all areas of life
Now here is the list of “greater powers” that we usually hope will take care of things in our lives so that we can just lay back and relax:
- Formal education
- Good genes
- Religion / God
Now think of the three most critical areas where you’re really taking the easy road, hoping that somebody or something else will do all the hard work for you.
Outline a plan and a strategy of how you could take the power back into your hands step by step, by getting educated, proactive, and making choices and decisions by yourself. Then, taking back the power area by area, become a superproactive person and reap all the rewards.
Never be inactive or reactive when it comes to your life strategy. You can’t trust your life strategy to inherited behavior patterns.