People who are cool, calm, and collected just have something about them—what is
this X factor that lets them remain so composed and in control of themselves?
While overly anxious people flap around and freak out, calm people seem to be
inhabiting an entirely different mindset.
Let’s begin this book by looking more closely at exactly what this mindset is,
and how you can go about cultivating it in yourself.
Here’s an interesting question:
who is in control of your life?
There are two main answers:
either you see something or someone else as responsible for what happens to you,
or you see yourself as the primary agent, mainly responsible for how your life
Proactive people are those who, in essence, do not depend on the environment to
guide and shape their life, but rather take active responsibility and do things
on their own.
They focus on their scope of action, on what they want, and on how they can
bring those things about.
Naturally, their attitude puts them in a frame of mind that focuses on solving
problems and seeking opportunities.
Broadly, when it comes to their life path, they are the ones calling the shots.
Compare this to the opposite:
someone who is reactive.
As the name suggests, this is a person who acts only as a response to other
people’s actions, or according to the environment, and less from their own
innate agency and desire.
This is a more passive, more conditional, and more dependent position.
It’s more about what you “should” do or are being made to do, than what you
genuinely want to do.
Blame, indecisiveness, victimhood, people-pleasing powerlessness, and lack of
responsibility all belong to this mindset, as well as the belief that other
people can make you feel certain emotions or force you to do something.
Now, I know what you’re thinking—surely it’s impossible to be truly proactive?
After all, none of us is one hundred percent in control of our lives.
This is true.
Being proactive, however, doesn’t necessarily mean you always get your way;
rather, it’s an orientation of mind and an attitude that says I can learn from
I can use my potential.
I can try something new.
In fact, a proactive person is also able to recognize when they don’t actually
have an influence over outcomes, and they can comfortably relinquish control.
So, it’s not that being proactive means you are entitled and enabled to make the
world exactly as you like it, rather that you have conscious awareness of your
own scope of action, you have an “internal locus of control,” and you are
willing to actively engage with obstacles and mistakes rather than passively
assuming you have no control or responsibility.