Proactivity: The 20-Day Challenge

To begin the challenge, here is a statistic I recently came across that you should know:

The average American is 20 lbs. Overweight, $10,000 in debt, slightly depressed, dislikes his or her job, and has less than one close friend.

How much of this is true for you?

You didn’t show up on Earth to accumulate these negatives, you came to participate and share your greatness. You came to make friends!

We will turn all of this around with a 20-Day Challenge which will propel you into 2018 with the Habit of Proactivity!

In the words of Stephen Covey. We don’t have to go through a major life crises to recognize and develop our own proactivity. It is in the ordinary events of every day that we develop the proactive capacity to handle the extraordinary pressures of life. It’s how we make and keep commitments, how we handle a traffic jam, how we respond to an irate customer or a disobedient child. It’s how we view our problems and where we focus our energies. It’s the language we use.

I would challenge you to test the Principle of Proactivity for 20 days. Simply try it and see what happens.

For 20 days work only on the things you have direct influence on. Your Circle of Influence.

What to do:

  • Make small commitments and keep them.
  • Be a light to the World.
  • Be a model, not a critic.
  • Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

If you start to think the problem is “out there,” stop yourself. That thought is the problem.

Try it in your marriage, in your family, in your job. Don’t argue for other people’s weaknesses. Don’t argue for your own. When you make a mistake, admit it, correct it, and learn from it immediately. Don’t get into a blaming, accusing mode. Work on things you have control over. Work on you. Be the best you can be.

Look at the weaknesses of others with compassion, not accusation. It’s not what they’re not doing or should be doing that’s the issue. The issue is your own chosen response to the situation and what you should be doing. If you start to think the problem is “out there,” stop yourself. That thought is the problem.

People who exercise their individual freedom day after day will, little by little, expand that freedom. People who do not, will find that it withers until they are literally “being lived.” They are acting out the scripts written by parents, associates, and society.

We are responsible for our own effectiveness, for our own happiness, and ultimately, for most of our circumstances.

Samuel Johnson observed: “The fountain of content must spring up in the mind, and he who hath so little knowledge of human nature as to seek happiness by changing anything but his own disposition, will waste his life in fruitless efforts and multiply the grief he proposes to remove.”

Knowing that we are responsible — “response-able” — is fundamental to effectiveness and to every other habit of effectiveness we will discuss.

Understanding the Latin Roots of these words and combining them creates the light that is necessary to reveal true responsibility.

Ancient Latin Meanings:

Response: Latin Root, ‘Responsum’ meaning ‘something offered in return.’

Able: Latin Root, ‘Habere’ meaning ‘to hold.’

Responsible: Latin Root, ‘Respondere’ meaning ‘the answer.’

Now you know ‘The Answer’ to all questions are within you, it is time to respond.

Application Suggestions – Questions & Actions:

1. Listen: For a full day, listen to your language and to the language of the people around you. How often do you use and hear reactive phrases such as “If only,” “I can’t,” or “I have to”

2. Identify: Identify an experience you might encounter in the near future where, based on past experience, you would probably behave reactively. Review the situation in the context of your Circle of Influence. How could you respond proactively? Take several moments and create the experience vividly in your mind, picturing yourself responding in a proactive manner. Remind yourself of the gap between stimulus and response. Make a commitment to yourself to exercise your freedom to choose.

3. Select a Problem: Select a problem from your work or personal life that is frustrating to you. Determine whether it is a direct, indirect, or no control problem. Identify the first step you can take in your Circle of Influence to solve it and then take that step.

4. Accept The Challenge: Try the 20-day test of Proactivity. Be aware of the change in your Circle of Influence.’

Take on this 20 Day challenge of Proactivity and ‘Respond With Ability’ this New Year!

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