Proactive and Reactive Living – What, Why and How

Proactive and Reactive Living – What, Why and How

You have probably heard it before: live your life proactively, and all will be well. But what exactly does that mean? Is it as simple as that, or is there more to it?

Reactive Living

The term ‘reactive’ can be defined as being responsive to something. It means that when something happens, you react to it. If you are living your life reactively, you are not leading life, but life is leading you. Your daily actions consist of reactions to the situations around you. Being reactive is not always a bad thing, even though, in most cases, it is viewed as one. 

If you are too reactive, you are at risk of losing your spontaneity. You are not in control, you don’t take any initiative but instead, you wait for the results. You like being in your comfort zone, and oftentimes you don’t even know you are living your life reactively. You are simply living it as it comes. 

Proactive Living

Proactive living means that you are living your life on purpose. You control your life, you know where you are going and what you’re trying to reach. It means that you spend your time in a way that is meaningful to you, without any regrets or doubts. You choose what to do with your time and energy; you set challenging goals for yourself and actively strive to complete them.

People who live a true proactive life will often be described as successful, enthusiastic, and inspiring. Their lives serve a higher purpose, and they have a vibrant, uplifting vibe.

However, most people still live their life in a mode strangely between the two:

Proactive and Reactive Living
Image Credit: Sweet Life Labs

They are neither fully in control of their lives   nor completely controlled by life. They are both. But most people actually want to live a proactive life. They just don’t know how to. As we are all surrounded by so much reactive living, it’s hard to step away from that. So, quickly you are entangled in the poisonous spines of social media and consumed by the overload of information. We are always busy, and there is always something that needs to be done.  

Reactive living is all around us; it’s a state in which most people operate. Staying in your comfort zone is so much easier than confronting yourself with scary and new situations. Trying to figure out exactly what you want seems impossible and accomplishing it is even worse. Simply put, reactive living is just easier. So why should you rebel against it?  

Why living proactively is better 

Choosing to live proactively will give  you more  fulfilment in life. It will wake you up, literally. By taking the time to decide where you want to go, you set yourself up for success. Suddenly you find yourself enjoying the tasks you have to do and that to-do list seems not boring but rather exciting. You move smoothly through life and you see the hardships on your journey as new ways to challenge yourself. You live an intentional and purposeful life filled with satisfaction. 

All it takes is the effort to get your life together and putting in that little bit of extra work. It takes courage to stand up and defy yourself and your lifestyle. No-one is born living proactively; it’s not a talent you need to be lucky  to possess. It’s a skill, something everyone can learn. Something everyone should learn. 

How To Live Proactively

Now the next obvious question is: how do you achieve this? How do you go from living a ‘boring’ and ‘passive’ life to an exciting and purposeful one? 

Proactive and Reactive Living: Planning a trip

Luckily, living proactively is merely a habitual mindset that you can develop and strengthen over time. One of the best ways to start is to take back control of your life. Remember that this is your life that you’re living, not someone else’s. Take responsibility for your own actions and make the right choices. Our lives are full of choices, and it is said that choice is our biggest golden ticket in life. Every minute, even every second, we get to  choose on how to live it. Choose wisely. 

“Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you”

John C. Maxwell

Take a moment to stop and reflect. Ask yourself with genuine interest: “Where do I want to go in life?” You have probably heard it so many times already, but have you actually tried to answer that question?

Finding the answer is an unmistakably important step to start living more proactively. Once you know where you want to go, start figuring out how you can achieve it. Think big, then start small. Don’t shy away from the goals that may not seem significant because these will lay a strong foundation for the future. Build on that foundation and create an effective routine of habits. Make a plan that is achievable yet ambitious. Let yourself dream of a brighter future but stay with both feet on the ground. Find the excitement again that you had as a child and allow yourself the time to repair it. 

You are the main character of your life, and you are in control. Be brave enough to take back the control. It will all be worth it in the end.

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Nella B
Nella B

Nella is an intern at Arcane Lost. Nella is a high-school student with a great love for reading and writing. She loves science and nature, and she’s passionate about healthy living and mindfulness. 

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