Day 18: Living Proactive vs Living Reactive

There are two ways you can live your life – proactively or reactively.

Taking a look at how they are defined, you'll get something like this:

  • Reactive: acting in response to a situation rather than creating or controlling it.
  • Proactive: creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened

Reading those two definitions, it can be easy to jump on the train that proactive is better than reactive 100% of the time. It's the narrative we're sold, the narrative we buy into, and generally, the narrative that gives us the feeling of control we're all looking for.

But no, this post isn't here to convince you of that. Rather in a two part series, we'll be diving into each and taking a look at why both have a purpose and when and how to use them.

This morning, we will be focusing on proactive.

Why Proactive Matters With Damn Early Days

Living proactively means you're putting yourself in control of the situation, long before it happens. It means you're making plans and decisions long before the situation actually comes up. If you're like most of us in the modern world, this is the sense of control you're striving for.

And in a lot of ways, it's exactly what you want.

Within the context of getting up early, it makes a hell of a lot of sense. I mean, if you're going to be getting up at 4:30AM, you might as well make the most of the time you're giving yourself, right?

Being proactive with your mornings gives you the conviction you need to haul your ass out of bed and takes away all the decisions you'd otherwise have to make when you're half asleep, tripping around your apartment, trying to make coffee.

This matters because at 4:30AM, when we're exhausted and still half asleep, it can be easy to convince ourselves that no future is more valuable than the feelings you'll get from climbing back into bed and curling up for just another 30 minutes.

Living proactively makes it a lot easier to come back to the things that matter and make sure you aren't putting them off.

If you're making decisions of what to do when you wake up, you'll more likely end up putting out fires or tending to the whims of whatever shows up that morning – whether that be emails, social media, the morning news or some other "urgent" task.

Living proactively means that you set out plans and find the time to get after what you actually want, day after day. You spend more time in reflection and generally live in the moment with more purpose and understanding of why you are doing what you are doing. Overall, this makes your life more stable and allows you to consciously focus on the big things that matter, even though they might not feel urgent that moment.

To sum it up, it will make sure you get where you actually want to go.

What proactive looks like

Being proactive means that your mornings start well before your alarm goes off – looooong before that actually.

Being proactive means you have something to wake up for – even if that means you're waking up to find out what it is you eventually want to wake up for.

Being proactive means you're thinking of February, even though it's still January.

Being proactive means you are thinking about your next, next, next move, even though that's a year ahead.

See, once you start to carve out a little time every day to be proactive, you'll realize life becomes a lot simpler.

No longer are you frantically trying to figure out what to do in the moment.

You'll have an idea, a plan, and a sense of calm to go get it.

Putting It Into Practice

As we go into the final week of Damn Early Days, we want you to put this to practice.

This morning, lay out what every single one of your days will look like next week.

Lay out what it will look like on Sunday going into the week and your first wake up on Monday.

Plan out your bed times and create a clear picture of how you want to get up and how exactly you'll spend your time and why.

Do it for every single day.

From there, your job is simply to go through it and execute. All the guess work is gone – and you'll begin to realize how much more space you have.

Do this enough times and you'll further realize how much momentum it can build.

And if you need some help remembering why being proactive actually matters, go back and re-connect with why you are here. It will refresh you in all the right ways.

Now go get it.

Photo credit: Wendy Shepherd

Jan2018Julian DeSchutter