Being proactive is not always the easiest thing to do. In Sean Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens,” Habit 1 tells you how to succeed in being proactive during every situation you go through in life.
Being proactive, I’ve learned, is to be positive and to make choices based on values, not impulse. It’s to think before you act and to control how you react to situations in life. The other path you can take is to be reactive. Although this seems easier to do, it’s the wrong way to go. The analogy used in this book is a good way to look at it. Reactive people are like a can of soda. If life tends to shake them up, everything builds inside of them and they suddenly explode. Unlike reactive people, being proactive is like a bottle of water. Shake it all you want but nothing will happen once you take off the lid. These people remain calm and in full control.
Now you have a choice, to be reactive or proactive. Being a teenager, I know the choice is not easy. I’ve gone through many situations during school or sports where I thought being reactive was the only thing I could be and that’s what I would do. It’s easier to blame other players for throwing you a bad pass or to blame the teacher for your bad grade. The truth is it’s your fault. Maybe you caught the ball wrong or you were in the wrong position. Instead of giving up and saying “There’s nothing I can do,” think positive and say “Let’s look at all our options, I can do better.”
If you catch yourself having a reactive mindset, push pause. Think of how you can change your negative comments to positive statements. Maybe you got a bad grade on a big test. Instead of blaming others or thinking you should’ve studied or worked harder, push pause and say you’ll do better next time.
Being an athlete, I know working with a team is sometimes frustrating and hard to do. A few months ago, my basketball team played in a big tournament that we were all very excited about. In the game to get into the semi-finals we were losing by quite a few points at half-time. We were all very down and being reactive. Thinking of the mistakes we made and the could-of, should-of moments was what most players were doing at this time. After a talk between our team and motivating words to be positive from our coaches, we then went into the game with a more positive attitude knowing we could do it. We finally caught up to the other team and ended up going into overtime and winning the game. From then on we had a more positive outlook on the next few games we had to play.
I know being proactive is hard, but it pays off. Wake up every morning and think “I am going to be proactive today.” Think before you speak, be positive, and put yourself in control of your attitude. Be proactive.
Alli Stone, age 15