About Proactivity

Tennis ball
Image by gregoirevdb

Today I realized something very important. It doesn’t make me feel good as it fights against my old paradigms, which is always hard, and it also shows a weak spot I had missed.

This week I’ve begun to understand what being proactive really means. Of course I know it theoretically [as I read too many self-development books], but today I internalized it better than ever before.

What troubles me thought is, that when I reflect back to history, I find many things in our society and lives that don’t support growing to proactivity, from early childhood to school and to work life – but I don’t want to talk about that part now as this was supposed to be a happy post. No need for society get its share, this time.

What is proactivity after all? Is it just a nice word, a trendy little nifty thing that you can throw here and there and sound intellectual?

First of all, for me proactivity means to be control of your life and stop whining. There’s not that many things [at least in the western society] that you can say is actually stopping you of doing anything, if you just decide to start.

Being proactive is hard. It means that there’s no one telling you what to do, but yourself. It means that you have to determine your goals, your steps how to get there, and that you are really doing the right things to get there. It means discipline – which I’ve noticed is the hardest part of it all!

This may sound too obvious, but I dare you to try it. Someone recently wrote in Finnish media that hurry has become our national trend. We are always in a hurry to some place, task or even state, and we don’t have time to do the real things, because, well, because we are in a hurry of course!

Being proactive means also that you need to determine the thing to do, this moment, and what to do not. Saying no is also proactivity.

This eventually leads to one statement, to the most dreadful one: The most horrible thing in proactivity is, that it means freedom. Freedom, in many ways, is an abysmal thing for a human being – many try to hide from it any means necessary. If you don’t share my view, just stop for a second and listen to people or your own thoughts.

How many is out there, really, not blaming something or someone else than themselves of their current state of life? How many is there to say, “I just didn’t try the right way“. As Bruce Lee so accurately placed it: “Be water my friend“.

In the end it is one’s own choice, if you are going to live this life kicking and screaming, or always just bouncing back. Because there’s always going to be new things after which you just have to bounce or you’ve lost the game.


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