Book review #4: Reactive or proactive?

Book title: The 7 habits of highly effective people 

Author: Stephen R. Covey 

Part II: Private victory – Be Proactive 

Habit nr. 1: Be proactive 

As promised, I am coming back with the 1st chapter of the book The 7 habits of highly effective people written by Stephen Covey. The author’s main focus here is on The Freedom To Choose your response given different situations. I very much like how he is explaining and make you understand that you are not your feelings, not your moods, not even your thoughts. Compared to animals, humans have “self-awareness” (the ability to think about themselves and their processes). This is the reason why you can make and break your habits (behavioral patterns). Because of your capacity of self-awareness, you can examine closer your perceptions (I’ve talked about perception in the previous article, click here) and determine whether they are either reality, principle-based or only a function of conditioning and conditions.

Being proactive means to take responsibility and choose your responses to external stimulus. Highly proactive people recognize their responsibility -> response-ability. They do not blame circumstances, conditions or conditioning for their behavior. Given our human nature, we should be proactive. The ability to subordinate an impulse to a value is the essence of the proactive person.

Really go inside yourself and ask: Do I have the power to choose my response?

It’s not what happens to us, but our response to what happens to us that hurts us. Our basic nature is to act, and not to be acted upon.

Act or be acted upon.

Proactive Reactive Language

Proactive focus: positive energy -> focus on the circle of influence = things that you can do something about (e.g. your habits, the way we see our no control problems) / full of “be’s”

Reactive focus: negative energy -> focus on the circle of concern = things over which you have no real control, past mistakes / full of “have’s”

Have you asked yourself the question, on which one do you focus most and spend your time and energy? Here at a glance.

Another concept that i really liked in this book is “Use your R and I”, where R stands for resourcefulness and I for initiative.

Make a commitment to yourself to exercise your freedom to choose.

Does this make sense for you? In my case, it had a great impact on my way of thinking and as a consequence, on my behaviour. I’ve learned what personal freedom is really about when it comes to interhuman relationships, difficult situations at work or any other challenging situation. It gave me a self-confidence push.

Looking forward to your experiences!




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