Reactive vs Proactive: Why Choose Proactive & How To Be One?

Last Update on October 25, 2023 : Published on April 7, 2021
Reactive vs Proactive

“Proactive people carry their own weather with them.”

This quote is certainly very true because proactive prepares you for the future already. Ok, let me not confuse you right here and start this blog by explaining the difference between proactive and reactive.

Being reactive means reacting to an incident that has already happened in the past whereas being proactive refers to the anticipation of probable future events and taking action before they become a crisis.

Dr. Gillian Mandich, A Happiness Researcher & Speaker gave an idea about how reactive and proactive mindset works differently.

reactive vs proactive thinking

Believe it or not, great leaders are those who are proactive in nature and ‘act before the opposition acts’ for better outcomes. In fact, you can be someone who could control your overwhelming emotions like anger, nervousness, despair, confusion, and anxiety when the focus is all about ‘mastering the moment in advance’.

Also Read: 7 Strongest Ways On How To Be More Decisive In Life

Before I tell you how to be proactive in life, let me also quote why you should choose to be proactive than reactive.

Why Choose Proactive Thinking over Reactive Thinking?

Proactive mindset

Famous psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl in his book ‘Man’s search for meaning’ stated,

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response.”

During his stay in a concentration camp during World War II, he chose to respond with hope and help for fellow prisoners and acted proactively throughout the stay.

On the other hand, reactivity is the complete opposite of proactive life.

Reactive mindset

It has to be understood that reactive people do not get the chance to act but they are actually acted upon. They let the situations control them, become a fool of the mood and act defensive and bitter when being criticized. 

How To Be More Proactive and Not Reactive In Life?

Here, I am giving you some exercises which if are adapted and practiced can prove to be beneficial and enhance your position as a team leader.

1. Circle Of Concern & Influence

There are things in your life that you have no control over and they come under a circle of concern and things that you have complete control over are called a circle of influence. Now in order to be proactive in life, make a list of all the things that you worry about and that come under the influence of concern. Now ask yourself if you could do anything about it.

Even if you can do the smallest thing, take an action towards it, even if it’s the smallest thing. If there is no response to it, you have actually tried working on it. You can even ask your close ones to help you deal with it so that the focus is settled on the positive side.

As soon as you start waking up for upcoming concerns and bring them into your circle of influence, you can notice the proactivity in your life.

2. Is Your Language Affirmative Enough?

While juggling between reactive vs proactive, your language matters a lot. Reactive phrases here would look like this:

  • Nothing could be done about it.
  • He makes me mad.
  • I can’t do this at all.
  • If only they would let me do that
  • They don’t allow me to do so

Whereas proactive reactions could look like:

  • If not this, let’s find other alternatives to do so.
  • I prefer going in a certain way
  • I choose to
  • How about having a different approach?

What’s being conveyed is that positive affirmations and self-talk is no less than the cognitive-behavioral approach and must be tried in any manner.

3. Follow 80/20 Rule

There is a great saying from Eisenhower’s box,

‘I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.’

It is clear that there is a thin line difference between urgent and important. This rule says that 80% of outcomes come from 20% of your efforts. In order to get the desired results, focus on 20% of the factors in a much better way. This method is helpful in making a person more proactive than just reactive.

Also Read: How to Make Life Better with 21 90 Rule?

4. Explore The Power Of Meditation

It has personally been a game-changer for me during the past few years. Meditation is a strong way to decode things that are important to you, why you want to chase them and how you can achieve them despite all the issues attached with it. It gives you a lot of peace and calmness.

Now from here, you are able to notice the limitations and ways out of it. Yes, it’s a powerful method to become proactive.

Below find the 3 Min Guided Meditation:

Also Read: 5 Handy Mantras for Peace and Comfort

5. Be Open To New Ideas

Everyone around you has a unique mind and possesses different ideas within them. If asked, they may have numerous interesting ideas and stories to share. When planning strategically for a great venture, it’s always good to brainstorm with different heads around.

Also Read: Super Thinking Ideas For Brain Toolbox: Improve Your Intellect

The idea of combining many heads helps in finding new approaches and perspectives that one mind would have not imagined alone.

Finally, sharpen your saw with a calm demeanor. Those who are proactive do not yell at somebody and understand the value of making emotional decisions. Proactive humans are passionate, loyal, straightforward, polite, and helpful.

This habit lets them prepare to sharpen the axe for a good number of hours before actually cutting down the tree. Make sure that this sharpening is done physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally as these domains make you powerful in life.


We hope that you understood the value of being proactive rather than reactive. Do not wait for things to happen to you, make them happen rightly.

Go big, go bigger! In terms of reactive vs proactive, always choose to be proactive!

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About The Author

Akanksha Soni
Akanksha Soni

Akanksha is an active lifestyle blogger and writer at Calmsage. She has learnt various lessons on happiness and methods to fight depression through 'Gurus' as well as own experiences. An ardent practitioner of Yoga and meditation, she keeps traveling, writes and interacts with people to feel alive.

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