“But until a person can say deeply and honestly, “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,” that person cannot say, “I choose otherwise.” – Stephen Covey
I’ve played on a ton of sports teams over the years, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the following remarks.
“Coach hates me, that’s why I’m not playing.”
“I’m better than Jordan, but the coach likes him better.”
“That ball was three feet outside, umpire is freaking blind.”
“I shouldn’t have washed my underwear yesterday, I was in the middle of a hitting streak.”
The list goes on and on, but the consensus is always the same. When you play baseball, it is never your fault when you strike out or sit on the bench. The problem with this thought process, is you spend your life being reactive instead of proactive.
Being reactive looks something like this. A young guy walks on to play baseball at a four-year university. He is automatically put at a disadvantage against scholarship players. This is true. It is true because scholarship players are highly recruited, and the coaches already know who they are. The young man complains because he is constantly at a disadvantage. Instead of working that much harder to prove his worth, he sticks with blaming the coaches for his lack of playing time. He eventually gives up and quits, ultimately saying it was because he never had a chance.
Then there is being proactive. The same young man walks onto the baseball team. He realizes he is at a disadvantage but chooses to use it to only motivate him further. He knows it is not enough to just be better than the scholarship players, but he has to outshine all of them. He puts it upon himself to make the change. Ultimately, he puts the ball in his court to either win or lose. If he gets to play, it is because he earned it. If he doesn’t, it was because he didn’t work hard enough.
Being proactive in life is saying, “It’s up to me.”
Being reactive says, “It’s his or her fault.”
Proactive people get ahead in every part of life. There is nothing where they don’t excel. In business, the proactive employee doesn’t bring organizational problems to light; but offers up solutions to ongoing problems. How easy is it to say something is broken? Anyone can do that. It is the person who offers up a solution, who gets ahead.
There are so many different avenues where we can be proactive. We can be proactive in relationships. It might look something like a husband who keeps loving a wife long after she has reflected that love. He pursues her constantly, regardless of how she treats him.
Being proactive isn’t always easy. It’s difficult because it goes against our “sitting around watching Netflix all day mentality”. But it leads to a more fulfilling life. A life where we can ultimately say, it was up to us. We accomplished this, or we failed at that, not because of anyone else other than the person in the mirror.
Is there a time when being reactive has caused you pain or regret? Is there a time when being proactive has helped you move along in a relationship or life?