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In his best selling book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the author Stephen Covey talks firstly about the difference between proactive and reactive people.
People who are reactive let external circumstances control them.
If someone is criticizing them, they feel defensive, if someone is praising them, they feel good.
The difference between being proactive and reactive comes down to motivation.
A proactive person is motivated by values, so they make their choices based on their values.
A reactive person is motivated by impulses, they immediately react to external circumstances without thinking. For them there is no choice, they simply react according to their impulses.
Take for example, two people heading into work in the morning. It is Monday morning and it is one of those cold, dark, wet winter mornings where all you want to do is hide under the duvet.
Person A is reactive, so their first reaction to these external circumstances is to feel completely unmotivated and to just survive the day at work.
Person B is proactive the coldness, rain, darkness, and Monday blues makes absolutely no difference to them. They value putting in a productive day’s work and so that’s exactly what they do regardless of what the weather may be like.
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