Have you ever wondered why some people create fantastic lives, whereas others allow themselves to get battered around by all the distractions of everyday life? More often than not it boils down to you being passive or proactive.

The truth is we can choose whether or not to be proactive and act positively to build our own lives, or to be passive and let life tell us what to do.

Even though we may think we are proactive, the truth is most of us are living at effect, allowing other factors to make the choices for us.

Sometimes there are valid excuses for us to respond to what life dishes out, but more often than not we invent excuses to let ourselves off the hook.

These scenarios by Exisle author Shelley Brunksill-Matson will help you understand the difference between living proactively and being in charge of your life, and living passively and letting life be in control.

%3Cp%3E%22Most%20people%20go%20to%20their%20graves%20having%20lived%20lives%20that%20are%20nothing%20like%20the%20lives%20they%20could%20have%20lived%2C%20had%20they%20lived%20proactively%20rather%20than%20passively%22%3C%2Fp%3E%0A

Shelley%20Brunskill-Matson, Author%3A%20What%20Are%20You%20Waiting%20For

Passive vs Proactive Scenarios...

Scenario:

John no longer enjoys his job (in fact he hasn’t for some time).

Excuse for Passive Inaction:

‘The job market’s so quiet at the moment, I wouldn’t find anything else and even if I did, it wouldn’t pay enough. It’s just not the right time to be looking for new work. Besides, I don’t even have a current CV.’

Proactive Response:

‘I have just updated my CV, and have appointments with three recruitment companies next week.’

Scenario:

Vanessa is overweight and has been advised by her doctor to lose 15 kg.

Excuse for Passive Inaction:

‘I work long hours and just don’t have the time to exercise. Sure, I know I could eat healthier, but by the time I get home from work, cooking is the last thing I want to do. It will be easier once this project is finished.’

Proactive Response:

‘I have started setting my alarm to go off
30 minutes earlier and using the time to go for a brisk walk each morning before work. I also found this fantastic website which has heaps of easy-to- prepare, healthy recipes. I am feeling much better already.’

Scenario:

Sarah has always wanted to set up her own graphic design business.

Excuse for Passive Inaction:

‘I don’t have enough time at present. Even though the kids are at school now, I still need to be available for them after school. What if they’re sick, and what am I supposed to do during the school holidays? It’s just not that easy.’

Proactive Response:

I have just finished writing a business plan. I will work from home, and initially only three days a week, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This way I won’t miss out on time with my kids, yet get to finally do what I’ve always wanted to. I am so excited.’

Scenario:

Jenny was an avid horse-rider in her teens. Now a mother of two teenagers herself, she is always talking about riding again.

Excuse for Passive Inaction:

‘I wouldn’t even know how to get started. Besides, riding’s not cheap and we’re financially stretched as it is. And it’s been so long, I don’t even know if I could still get on a horse! One day ...’

Proactive Response:

‘I found out about a local equestrian centre online and am now riding twice a week. It’s not costing anything like as much as I thought it would. I love it. I wish I’d gone back to it years ago.’

Scenario:

Jacob is a keen runner, and has frequently toyed with the idea of running a marathon.

Excuse for Passive Inaction:

‘Training for a marathon is a big commitment. It wouldn’t be fair on my family. And given I travel
a bit with work, it would just be too hard to fit the training in.’

Proactive Response:

‘I’ve registered for my first marathon and am well on track with my training. My family is incredibly supportive. Sometimes the kids even bike along beside me when I’m training. It’s great.’

Of course you're already beginning to understand the difference.

Think about your own life, and ask yourself honestly if there are some areas in which you could take a more proactive response, and benefit greatly from this.

All the best,
Nathan Thomas
Exisle Empowerment Editor

PS

If you found this exercise useful, you'll definitely love Shelley Brunksill-Matson's video on how to stay motivated no matter what. She also gives some great tips on goal setting and overcoming fear.

You can watch the video here.