Proactive – What is it, advantages, tips, what is being reactive?

We explain what it is to be proactive, its advantages and tips to be more proactive. Also, how reactive and proactive people are.

Proactive people are those who propose, undertake and anticipate.

What is being proactive?

When we speak of proactivity, or we say that someone is proactive, we are referring to a type of anticipatory behavior that does not require an external stimulus to initiate an action or undertake a change. Proactive behavior is the opposite of reactive behavior, which is limited to reacting to a stimulus from the outside.

Proactive people are those who propose, who undertake and anticipate, that is, who have an active stance in front of things and situations. A proactive person does not need to wait for instructions, but rather proposes and proposes courses of action. In other words, a proactive attitude is one that has the initiative and that you are ready to take change or action.

This meaning is inscribed in the very origin of the word, which goes back to Latin and the union of the voices pro- (“Before” or “forward”) and agere (“Perform”, “act”). Thus, proactivity could be defined as the ability to act ahead of time, the propensity to get things done before they become necessary.

For example, when faced with a problem in the production chain, a reactive worker will stop and wait for the bosses to decide what to do, while a proactive worker will look at what things are in their hands to solve the problem or at least minimize its consequences. negative.

In general, proactive attitudes are highly valued in the workplace and are considered a virtue desirable in people. This is because a proactive person will be more likely to actively deal with problems that arise, that is, to seek a solution and make independent decisions, than a passive person who will simply wait for instructions.

However, it is important to note that no one is 100% proactive in all dimensions of life, but can be in some contexts and not in others.

Proactive and reactive people

As we said before, the fundamental difference between a proactive person and a reactive person is defined based on their attitude towards things: a proactive person possesses the initiative, takes action, while a reactive person operates based on reactions: requires of an external stimulus to be able to act.

This, in turn, may involve certain personality factors, such as:

  • Proactive people tend to be more spontaneous and outgoing, while the reactive ones take refuge in passivity, introversion and often hostility.
  • Proactive people inspire others and can occupy leadership positions with ease, since they are able to make decisions in the moment. Reactive women, on the other hand, feel more comfortable following a leader.
  • Proactive people, however, tend to improvisation and quick decision makingWhile reactive people tend to ruminate over decisions, often postpone them, and eventually let things happen by themselves or someone else make the decision.

Advantages of being proactive

Proactivity tends to be a more rewarding and rewarding posture in many areas than reactivity. This is because:

  • Allows us make critical decisions and prevent situations that can put us between a rock and a hard place.
  • It predisposes us to hands-on learningBecause by doing things, even if we make mistakes, we learn faster and faster than just waiting for someone to tell us what to do.
  • Improve our time management, moving away from procrastination and rumination of decisions.
  • Makes others value or at least notice our effort.

Tips to be more proactive

Is it possible to educate ourselves to be more proactive about things? Certainly, but this requires a change in the traditional way of thinking. For this, it is convenient to look at the following recommendations:

  • Think of solutions, not culprits. Reactive people tend to stagnate in the attribution of responsibilities, and take refuge in passivity. Proactivity, on the other hand, gives priority to solving problems and leaves punishment and reward for later.
  • Be honest with yourself. Contrary to popular belief, procrastination is not a matter of time management, but of emotions: we get distracted as a way to interrupt an activity that causes us discomfort. In that sense, it is preferable to be honest about what we feel and face the things that need to be done with the spirit of commitment necessary to do it quickly and well, and not delay and do it reluctantly.
  • Try to be pragmatic. Proactivity takes better with the useful, the immediate and the strategic, so it is better to leave the theorizing and reflections for later, when you do not have to make hot decisions. When deciding, try to keep your feet on the ground.
  • Get rid of the law of least effort. If you invest as little as you can in a task, the task will progress slowly and you will never see its results. On the other hand, a greater range of commitment will make you advance with a better step and will allow you to prevent future problems that, if you had given the minimum possible, you would not have been able to anticipate.