I began blogging about the book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People a few months back in order to publicly commit myself to its completion… But I started at Habit 2 with the promise to revisit Habit 1: Be Proactive. Here is my answer to that promise:
The simplest way to explain the idea of being proactive is via the fable of The Ant and The Grasshopper.
The story is as follows: The Grasshopper comes upon The Ant as he works with his family to store away provisions for the upcoming winter. The Grasshopper mocks The Ant for spending the beautiful day slaving. Ultimately, winter comes and The Grasshopper – who has done nothing to prepare for the cold days and nights – finds himself in a heap of trouble. No food, no shelter, no way to survive.
The Ant was proactive. The Grasshopper was not.
This is the way most people operate. They live paycheck-to-paycheck, without a plan or any long-term goals and merely expect things to work out the way they hope. Years pass and nothing happens, nothing much changes, except maybe they become more disappointed and fall deeper in debt.
This is why Being Proactive is Habit Number One. You have to be willing to accept that your current existence is a result of all the previous choices you’ve made. If your life is a mess, it’s because you put yourself there. If you’re life is exactly what you want, you can take full credit for it.
Your life is your own doing.
Accepting this allows you to realize that the decisions you make today affect your life much like rain at the top of a mountain affects the rivers below it. You might not see the immediate effects but they will present themselves eventually.
Now, are you going to sit around with your fingers crossed or are you going to make a point to visualize your life, set some real goals and start making proactive changes today?