Proactivity – How to live in your OWN reality and not others

Monish SubherwalDesign Mindset and Philosophy, VideosLeave a Comment

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In this episode, I talk about one of the core fundamentals of empowerment, proactivity. Being more proactive is KEY to being an empowered person – so listen up, enjoy, and stay empowered! 🙂


Symptoms of Not Being Proactive (Being Reactive)

Here are some symptoms:

  • Blaming circumstances, conditions, or conditioning

  • Feeling like a victim

  • Feeling helpless

  • Being driven by feelings, circumstances, conditions, environment rather than values

  • Using reactive language that does not support responsibility: “There’s nothing I can do” “That’s just the way I am”, “He makes me so mad.” “They won’t allow that”, “I have to do that”, “I can’t”, “I must”, “If only”

What is Proactivity?

The Collins English Dictionary defines proactivity as “Tending to initiate change rather than reacting to events.” Thats a pretty good definition – but I came up with my own to expand on this:

Focusing on what you can do and taking actions to better your situation – rather than focusing on whats not possible and expecting others to change the situation

Circle of Concern vs. Circle of Influence

Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at 4.15.40 PM

Immediately when an issue comes up, start training yourself to focus NOT on the problem, but rather solutions. From here, at the list of solution, start seeing what is in your control. Stephen Covey calls this focusing on your Circle of Influence, rather than your Circle of Concern (things outside your control, conditions, the weather, other peoples emotions, etc.). The more you focus and take actions within your Circle of Influence, you will feel more empowered and you will start shrinking your Circle of Concern SINCE you are being proactive.

To help yourself do this and make it a habit, setup some ways for yourself to remember all this. Be creative. An idea: maybe set your screen saver to say “Focus on your Circle of Influence always”.

Empowering Quotes

“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. Proactive people can carry their own weather with them…”

– Dr. Stephen Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

“When people treat [reactive people] well, they feel well, when people don’t they become defensive or protective. Reactive people build their emotional lives around the behavior of others, empowering the weaknesses of other people to control them.”

– Dr. Stephen Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

These are Characteristics of a Proactive person:

  • Respond to a situation rather than react

  • Being a cause in the matter

  • Take responsibility

  • You take initiative

  • You feel highly responsible for your life

  • You focus on what you can do about a situation

  • You get affected by situations, but your response to a situation leads to value-based choices or responses

  • You have a strong belief that the environment is a product of your choices, not that you are a product of your environment

Coaching from Monish

“OMG Monish! I am such a Negative Nancy! I am Reactive!” …Stop.

Be careful as you read this definition of Proactivity. Do not make the mistake of seeing yourself in black and white, like most people do. You shouldn’t be telling yourself, “Oh my God, I am a reactive person” or “He is so reactive.” The thing is, people are typically reactive in a CERTAIN situation. Just because someone is being reactive in a certain situation does not mean they ARE reactive.

Also, you should not say “I want to be a proactive person.” Instead, you should tell yourself “I want to be MORE proactive person” or “I want to be more proactive in a certain area of my life.” There is already proactivity built into you, you just want to add more.


  • Look at your life-  are there places where you feel helpless?  Reactive?  Where you are feeling stuck?
  • Ask “what can you do” about your situation?
  • Take the first step.

That’s All!

Hopefully you learned A LOT from this episode.  Please leave any questions or feedback below.   DO the assignment.  Growth is intentional.


Stay Empowered,

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