Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi states: “the best defense is a good offense.” Randomly enough, this successful principle most likely stems from first-century Roman poet Ovid who asked: “Isn’t the best defense always a good attack?”
This principle appears in military strategies, business environments, political campaigns, athletics, the quest to find true love, and in fitness.
Why is this concept so popular?
Because it teaches you the fundamental lesson in life that success goes to those who are proactive rather than reactive.
Proactive vs. Reactive
Being reactive is being a spectator at life. Think of this as being a fan in the stands and watching the players play (this is your life in this context).
Reactive people don’t exercise the initiative to take charge of the reins of life. Instead, they’re putting out fires to the day and playing catch up. They often have feelings of never getting enough done throughout the day.
The everyday events, people, situations, and circumstances are setting the agenda of operation for them. Reactive people operate with a victim mentality. This leads to self-pity and feeling less empowered to change the narrative of your life.
Contrarily, being proactive is setting your own agenda for the day and not letting the day control you. As Stephen Covey states in his popular book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “If you’re proactive, you don’t have to wait for circumstances or other people to create perspective expanding experiences. You can consciously create your own.”
It doesn’t matter if you’re pursuing a health goal, a business goal, or if you’re trying to engineer a lifestyle designed on your terms–it’s essential to adopt more of a proactive mentality. Here are three of the biggest reasons why.
1. You’ll make better decisions
The environment influences reactive people along with their scarcity thinking which leads to short-term perspectives. With these combining factors, you’re going to make decisions solely from an emotional standpoint.
When you opt for short term gratification, this leads to long-term agony and frustrations.
But if you’re proactive, you’re operating from a more abundant state. You’re going to play the long-term game which focuses on the big picture. It’s not about the right now or the next week. It’s about the vision further down the road which brings logic and rationale into the situation.
2. Better self-awareness and peace of mind
Stress is an issue for many people. Most of it is self-inflicted. Stress isn’t evil, it only becomes a negative when it gets out of balance. But, a great way to manage your stress levels is through self-awareness and planning.
When you start to understand yourself on a deeper level, this helps you structure your day and life with a more targeted approach. There are many strategies and tactics which lead to the same finish line (i.e. results), but not all mesh with you. With greater self-awareness, you’re able to pick out the ones that perfectly gel with you and leave the others.
This lowers your neurotic thoughts and constant questioning about if you’re doing the right thing.
3. You’re more prepared
Your waistline, wallet, and work-life balance will thank you for being more proactive. Often times, people fall short with their fitness goals, finance goals, and lose touch with their social lives because they’re not thinking ahead.
By being proactive, you’re going to schedule and prep for potential obstacles, distractions, and important events in the future. Thus, you won’t be caught off guard and lose your momentum.
With fitness, this could be meal prepping your food or using a meal delivery service for lunch. With your finances, this could be setting up multiple accounts for specific purposes and have them automatically drafted so you don’t have to rely on willpower. With your social life, you could schedule in activities and hobbies that are important to you just as you schedule in doctor appointments and business meetings.
How to train yourself to be more proactive
Now that you understand and have been reminded about why being proactive is so essential to succeeding in life, it’s important to start practicing daily habits that instill a proactive mentality. Here is a short list of habits that will instill the proactive mentality.
• Take 100 percent ownership of your life
No one will get the dream body, business, or relationship for you—it’s up to you. Your peers, family, and community can be a support system, but can’t do the work for you.
• Be accountable and make specific goals
I want to get in shape is a vague goal. What does that mean? Is that running a mile in under ten minutes or losing 10 pounds? Make your goal something you can physically measure. Once you have set your goal, now you can work backward from that goal and set micro-goals along the way to evaluate if your plan is working.
• Make your own luck
Designing your ideal body, lifestyle, business, or relationship isn’t going to happen through sheer luck. Relying on luck and a big break isn’t going to cut it. Taking positive steps each day to your ideal life is the only way to make it a reality.
• Look at yourself in the mirror
It’s tough, but it’s essential that you’re honest with yourself. Take a hard look at what you’re doing on a daily basis and how you’re going about those habits. Time is finite and therefore you can’t sugarcoat the situation. Are your daily habits placing you closer to your goals or just wasting your time?
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