Proactive is creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened. Being proactive is the first habit in ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Dr. Covey. Covey made some distinctions about being proactive; see them below:
Being proactive… (1) is not the same as taking the initiative, though taking the initiative is part of being proactive (2) comes from a mind-set that we’re all 100% RESPONSIBLE for our actions, thereby empowering us to make the necessary changes and not blame nor rely on others to do it for us (3) stems from making a CONSCIOUS CHOICE to respond to situations that are out of our control rather than automatically reacting to them; which we usually do in a overwhelmed and emotional state (4) puts you in charge of your life and expands your CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE while shrinking your circle of concern. This leads you to be a change catalyst rather than resisting changes or uncomfortable situations.
With these distinctions in mind, ask yourself if you’re being proactive? Know that being proactive is not ‘always’ preventing things from happening, but if we could, then we should. Find ways to put things in place that would prevent as many obstacles as possible. For example: the local fire department receives alerts whenever a new building is constructed so they can make sure that the buildings have all of the safety precautions in place. This type of system prevents thousands of daily fires in addition to better helping the fire department fight fires when they do happen.
Ways to be proactive: [A] Identify any risks by taking PREVENTIVE METHODS with the available resources and capabilities (ex: eating healthy and exercising today instead of waiting for your health to reach poor levels). [B] Take a step back when something happens and make a CONSCIOUS CHOICE that ‘serves’ you in the moment and in the long-term instead of reacting in a stressed state. [C] Think less linear with any issues that arise and look for other alternatives than the obvious ones.