Another read-through of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has me focusing on being proactive – the first habit. Its opposite is reactivity – responding without thought – a habit that induces a victim mentality and a feeling of powerlessness.
This concept reminded me of the time a group of friends were lamenting to me about a situation that needed to be addressed. The problem was in their area of responsibility, but the leader of their group had made no effort to address it.
My friends were waiting to be told what to do, even though they knew both what needed to be done and how to do it. My suggestion was to go ahead and solve the problem, then report the results to their leader. I encouraged them to be proactive.
Covey said that we’re all endowed with the complex, powerful attributes of imagination, conscience, self-awareness, and independent will. Can you imagine what would happen if we all intentionally put these “powers” to work in creating solutions every day?
This quote, attributed to Napoleon Hill, describes what seems to happen when we stop waiting for permission to change the world:
“The world has the habit of making room for the man whose actions show that he knows where he is going.”
Do you have the solution to a problem in your sphere of influence? What’s keeping you from moving ahead and solving it?