Hello! Seiiti Arata. You are most likely watching this video for one of two reasons: (1) You are a subscriber to our YouTube channel (and thanks for choosing Arata Academy!) or (2) you were searching for information about how to be proactive and found this video.
In either case, I invite you to first watch the previous video in this series by going to http://arata.se/hello49, because that is where we began the discussion on what defines a proactive person. Today we’ll talk about how to BECOME a proactive person.
To be proactive, you need to concentrate your efforts in the following three areas:
1. Keep your FOCUS on finding solutions.
When you receive a stimulus, the tendency is to react immediately. And that’s what reactive people do without even being aware of the process.
Let’s take a simple example to illustrate this: you are driving carefully within the speed limit. Someone behind you hits the horn, accelerates and gives you the finger. That is the stimulus—an event of the outside world. It’s the aggressive behavior of another person.
You have many choices in how you respond to the stimulus. Maybe for you the most natural and immediate choice is becoming angry. Then you will also hit the horn and curse. Or maybe you’ll even speed up; you’ll chase that bastard and show him who is in charge!
But none of that is related to your goal, which is to arrive safely at your final destination. Right? The more time you waste thinking about and responding to that stimulus, more reactive you are.
Focus on what is in your control. Using our metaphor, focus on your own car and on getting safely to your destination.
There’s a book I always recommend that suggests paying attention to that precious moment between stimulus and response. In this brief moment, you have the ability to choose your response. In the online course FOCUS, I will teach you several exercises that train your ability to stay focused on what is important and to erect a shield against distraction. After the first lesson, you’ll understand the enemies of focus and what to do about them.
2. Invest in your ability to make better choices.
I know there are people thinking, “Seiiti, talk is cheap. But when some turbulent event happens, when the stimulus is powerful—whether shocking news, or urgency in my work, or some drama in my house—I DO get reactive! It is impossible to control myself!”
So now I invite you to do an exercise here. Think of a situation where the stimulus is so dramatic that you find it impossible to control your response to it. All right? Close your eyes, breathe, and think about the last time you were reactive.
Now open your eyes. And with open eyes think, using your imagination, what would proactive behaviour look like in this same situation? What other options are there? What would James Bond do? Seriously! Think of some character—either fictitious or real—like the Queen of England, the Pope, the Dalai Lama, Malala, Angelina Jolie, Michael Jordan or Gandhi… Think of someone you consider to be grounded, centred, conscious and responsible. How would that person behave in this situation that made you so reactive?
You just performed an exercise of imagination and visualization of different possibilities. And this is a skill that elevates us from other animals. It is the ability to be aware of our choices.
3. You are not an animal. So you can invest in your personal development.
Of course human beings are part of the animal kingdom, but when we say that you are not an animal, it means that you have the ability to develop. You can raise your standards to make more conscious choices about how you react to stimuli.
You invest in your personal development based on your philosophy. You can reflect on the important values that should guide your life. You can invest in self-knowledge, clarifying what is important to you. Watch the video about defining what is important. I highly recommended this video!
What you do not want is to remain too long in a state of low consciousness. This clouds your vision and limits your ability to make good choices. To gain clarity, you need to understand when your “choices” are merely reflections of what society has taught you, of social conditioning. Instead of seeking the approval of the people around you, spend time trying to understand what matters to you. Seek your own values, your own purpose.
To be a proactive person, it is necessary to increase your level of awareness and clarity about the values that guide your journey.
How can we do that? We have to have an excellent life plan, knowing the minimum standards we set for ourselves and where we want to go. We have to understand the price of things, because nothing happens without effort and dedication. And we have to pay the price: we have to give up some choices in order to focus on the options that will bring the desired results.
It is quite likely that you face a lot of distractions. People who are trying to steer you away from your chosen route, for example. There will be well-intentioned criticism from people who will try to impose their own ideas in your head. Only you, however, have the ability to choose what is best and to accept the consequences of your decisions. That is taking responsibility.
If you want assistance on this journey as you learn how to deal with all the enemies of focus, you can take our express course, FOCUS.
FOCUS is a course specially designed to be fast. You will be able to complete the course in one day and will be empowered to become proactive. Visit: http://arata.se/focuscourse