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Why You Need To Develop A Proactive Mindset

Posted On:23-Oct-2019/6:35 am

A few years ago, I lost the most important person in my life, my beloved mom. This was by far the most painful and difficult event I had ever experienced. I was overwhelmed by all sorts of negative emotions; anger, regrets, frustration, despair and confusion. Felt like the sky was falling on me. I had previously received several heavy blows from life (having to drop out from school, losing my first job, breaking up with my boyfriend), but this was by far the heaviest of all and the one which probably came with a very important life lesson; becoming more proactive.

I spent the following months allowing those negative feelings to dictate almost all my decisions. I spent a lot of time blaming everything and everyone for anything that happened to me. In a nutshell, I became a product of my circumstances. I was a REACTIVE person. I lived like that until a thought came to mind, “How will your mom feel about you now?” This struck me like lightning, and I decided I was going to honour her memory by living up to the potential she knew I had.

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Victor E. Frankl

Most of us have gone through painful experiences which significantly affected the way we lived afterwards. When this happens, giving up on life and people seem to be inevitable. But it is not! You can choose a different response than the default once you embrace the proactive mindset. Once you acknowledge the fact that there is a gap between the stimulus and your response. Once you realise you have the power to choose your response. Once you know you are “response-able”. The truth is we are all going to be “wounded” at some point, and sometimes it won’t be our fault, but it is always going to be our responsibility to heal those wounds.


When this happens, you become a product of your decisions and not your circumstances. You become PROACTIVE. I will encourage you to use Stephen Covey’s (author of the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People) mental model called the Circle of Concern and Influence to help you embrace the proactive way of living. Imagine a circle. Think about your concerns (anything you worry about): job, finances, school, relationships etc. Put them within the circle. This becomes your Circle of Concern. 

Now imagine another smaller circle within your Circle of Concern. Think about the concerns you have partial or complete control over. For example, your finances, you can look for another job, ask for a raise or avoid unnecessary expenditures. This becomes your circle of influence.

One of the main differences between reactive and proactive people heavily depends on the amount of time, energy, and resources they spend on each of the circles. Reactive people spend most of their time on their Circles of concern, the things they have very little or no control over such as the weather, what other people think/do, the past, natural disasters etc. This results in feeling helpless and being ineffective. Proactive people spend more time on their Circle of Influence, the things within their sphere of control. Being more proactive helps you to be more effective because you are more comfortable with change, you see the big picture and you are more prepared to handle situations. This is a very important life lesson.


1 : 1. Your wound might not be your fault, but your healing is your responsibility.

2 : 2. Between stimulus and response, is your power to choose your response.

Category:  the Self/Self-Improvement / Subcategory:  Proactive

Tags: proactive, life lesson, proactive mindset, reactive

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Lisa Steffler


It is always heart-wrenching when a child loses a parent. Just so you know, you are in my prayers. I do not know if you are a religious person, but I thought I would send you this nonetheless: Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10). Wshasco, I really enjoyed reading your duppydom. Being a wife and mother forces you to be proactive, or else nothing would get done. The last time someone mentioned that book, I checked it our online-a lot of buzz even thought it has been around for many years. I will have to buy a copy. Thank you for your thoughtful article.

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S. Jakes


wshasco--I am also sorry to hear about your loss. I am sending you good vibes. I love the topic of your duppydom--you are right, being proactive is a good life lesson. Being proactive is something I try to do, particularly when it comes to my job, because I can be very reactive and sometimes feel very helpless. I like the idea of response-able. I agree with Adeago-awesome duppydom :)

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Adaego M. Azi


wshasco, welcome to duppydom. I am so sorry to hear about your mom. I cannot image what you went through--I lost my grandmother, so maybe a little. I am glad to hear that you are better now. This is the second time someone has mentioned the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People—glad to hear that it helped. I will have to practice the circle of concern, circle of influence concept. Amazing duppydom.