If only! (a post about being proactive)

After finally finishing Magical Kingdom for Sale/Sold, I grabbed the next book from my to-read pile: Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. There was a bookmark in it (a Qantas bag-tag from my trip to Melbourne in JUNE), and since I couldn’t be bothered re-reading the whole beginning, I picked up where I’d left off: Proactivity. Well, that’s not like you, Universe, being straight-up like that. I guess I missed the sneaky little signs, did I? (Like this post). Anyway, the part that stuck with me the most was what was termed the Circle of Concern – these are all the stuff we worry about, which for me includes everything the building pile of dirty dishes to “Oh-my-God I’m a terrible person!” We have varying degrees of influence over these worries – direct, indirect or, well, no control. To be proactive, instead of worrying, complaining, and amplifying the whole situation, I am now trying super-duper-hard to ask myself – “Ok. What can I do about it?” The diagrams above show in home-hitting clarity how much this can change our outlook. I mean, I’m not a control-freak, but having a bit of power over my own situation does make me feel more, well, powerful (and that’s not a bad thing). A good example is when I sleep in (like this morning), and I start thinking about how little time I have left in the day before work in the afternoon. “Ahh! I slept in, I’ve lost like THREE HOURS! All that valuable time I could have spent writing, or practising that piece for my guitar lesson, plus I have to make sure I have my stuff ready for the gym this afternoon, I won’t have time to go home first, and I REALLY need to write a blog post cos it’s been almost a whole WEEK since I wrote the last one, if only I could wake up ON TIME my day would be PERFECT and…” Yeah… something like that. Eeek! So instead of worrying about all the things I need to do, I prioritise – what will be the most valuable things to do now? Instead of being annoyed about losing three hours, I think “Well, at least I had a good sleep,” and “Ok, maybe I lost some time, but I’ve still got all this time ahead of me – am I going to waste that, too?” Instead of saying “If only I didn’t sleep in…” I say “I will make the most of the time I do have.”

All images from Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

I’ve found that purposefully changing my thinking using this as a starter has helped me feel more in control of my situation, and thus less stressed or anxious about situations I am in. It’s also made me think more about my goals, because it’s not just about being ‘proactive’, but being proactive towards a goal. But that’s another post altogether 🙂

6 thoughts on “If only! (a post about being proactive)

    1. I hadn’t thought of it in terms of a group effort. I’m finding it takes a lot just for me to start thinking more proactively.

      How has it been effective / ineffective in your workplace?


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