(published in Hedra News)
Are you living a life pro-actively or reactively? How would you know the difference?
A reactive life is a life full of automatic responses, almost habit-behavior. This is prevalent with couples who have been together for a long time; they squabble, finish each other’s sentences, and order one another’s meals. They are embedded so deeply in a life that has routine predictability that they barely need to engage. This is not a negative observation, simply an observation.
We live reactively all the time. As a parent, I hear myself reminding my children to use “an inside voice” so frequently that I often ask my husband to do the same. We react when someone cuts us off in traffic. We react when we wake up late in the morning. Sometimes we react when a piece of chocolate cake is placed in front of us.
Proactive living looks different. There is a moment that exists before the response occurs in the life of someone who is proactive. Proactive living is stopping long enough to think about our choices in every circumstance.
For example, someone cuts you off in traffic. You have a few options:
1. You can yell.
2. You can honk your horn.
3. You can say a prayer for them.
4. You can turn your radio up a notch.A proactive thinker stops long enough to discern the BEST choice. Which option will be more aligned with their true character? A proactive thinker pauses to look ahead and is able to ask a few empowering questions in that moment:
- What will my response do for me or anyone else in the future?
- What will my response hinder?
The challenge for each of us is that we are trying to become proactive in a reactive world.
One empowerment tool that I can share with you is called PRESS PAUSE. Think of your remote control button. PAUSE.
Simply PRESS PAUSE in every circumstance for the next week. When you PRESS PAUSE, you slow the world down long enough to process the situation at hand.
The process looks like this:
1. Press Pause.
2. What is going on right now?
3. What are my options?
4. Which choice will bring me closer to who I am?
5. Which choice will lead me to my long-term goals?
6. Which choice will bring me or others lasting peace?
With PRESS PAUSE, you take back your power. Power over your life. When you react, you give up your power to habits, which initially seems like a much easier existence. But the truth is that a reactive life is usually more painful, explosive, and destructive.A proactive life is a life that is mindful.So, now that you have finished this article, you can PRESS PAUSE. What are your choices? Will applying what you have learned bring you closer to your long-term goals?