Friday, July 17, 2009

Proactive or Reactive?...[5]

Some day in the years to come, you will be wrestling with the great temptation, or trembling under the great sorrow of your life. But the real struggle is here, now.... Now it is being decided whether, in the day of your supreme sorrow or temptation, you shall miserably fail or gloriously conquer. Character cannot be made except by a steady, long continued process.
[Phillips Brooks]

Proactive means more than merely taking initiative. It means that as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. Our behaviour is a function of our decisions, not our conditions. We can subordinate feelings to values. We have the initiative and the responsibility to make things happen. Responsibility means the ability to choose your response. Highly proactive people recognize that responsibility. They do not blame circumstances, conditions or conditioning for their behaviour. Their behaviour is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their conditions, based on feeling. Proactive people can carry their own weather with them. Whether it rains or shines makes no difference to them. They are value driven; and if their value is to produce good quality work, it isn't a function of whether the weather is conducive to it or not. The ability to subordinate an impulse to a value is the essence of the proactive person. Proactive people are still influenced by external stimuli, whether physical, social or psychological. But their response to the stimuli, conscious or unconscious, is a value-based choice or response.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
[James 1:17]

Reactive people are often affected by their physical environment. If the weather is good, they feel good. If it isn't, it affects their attitude and their performance. Reactive people are also affected by their social environment, by the "social weather." When people treat them well, they feel well; when people don't, they become defensive or protective. Reactive people build their emotional lives around the behaviour of others, empowering the weaknesses of other people to control them. Reactive people are driven by feelings, by circumstances, by conditions, by their environment.

...suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
[Romans 3:3-5]
Next, I would like to touch on moodiness. You should be able to recognize by now that having mood swings are for reactive people. Whenever you're drowning in one of those terrible mood swings, meditate on these:
...For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.
[Isaiah 49:13]
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
[Deuteronomy 31:8]
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
[Psalms 34:18]
As the saying goes:
"No one can hurt you without your consent."
[Eleanor Roosevelt]
"They cannot take away our self respect if we do not give it to them."
[Mahatma Gandhi]
Our basic nature is to act, and not be acted upon. Taking initiative does not mean being pushy, obnoxious, or aggressive. It does mean recognizing our responsibility to make things happen. The difference between people who exercise initiative and those who don't is literally the difference between night and day. For example, love is a verb - that's what proactive people has in mind. Love is something you do - the sacrifices you make , the giving of self. Love is a value that is actualized through loving actions. Proactive people subordinate feelings to values. Love, the feeling, can be recaptured. On the other hand, reactive people holds strongly to the idea that love is a feeling. They're driven by feelings. If our feelings control our actions, it is because we have abdicated our responsibility and empowered them to do so.
It is NOT impossible for a person to change... you just need to have faith.. the faith of a mustard seed..

...unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
[Matthew 18:3]
No one can persuade another to change. Each of us guards a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside. We cannot open the gate of another, either by argument or by emotional appeal.
[Marilyn Ferguson]

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