My wife said something to me a few weeks ago that stuck in my brain like a black hole, and has been sucking my thoughts into it ever since. It was about how to be pro-active in life, which is really the source of all wealth.
We were driving across Wyoming, and Amanda looked at me and said: “I think I have just learned one of the most empowering lessons a human being can learn in life.”
It was early morning. I was busy watching the mountains in Wyoming fade into the plateaus and prairies of South Dakota. The sun was rising in front of us like a flaming planet from another universe, and the colors across the landscape got bolder and brighter as the sun climbed higher an inch at a time in the sky.
Amanda watched as the earth come awake and she continued her thought:
“For so much of my life, I have been stuck inside a mental prison where I was reacting to life all the time. But I think I’ve finally made the switch to becoming a leader of my life. I am now pro-active with my decisions, rather than reactive, and that mental switch has been one of the most empowering things I have ever done with my life.”
Amanda watched the American Landscape pass out the windows as we left the mountains. “I’m finally escaping the prison I created in my mind, and I’m feeling more free than I’ve ever felt in my life.”
“How did you do it? I asked.
She thought about the question for a second, “I’ve committed to being pro-active with my life and my decisions. That has made all the difference.”
Before I travel deeper into this story, I have to define the difference between these two styles of living life.
THE REACTIVE LIFE:
The reactive life is really a lazy life, because you’re always waiting for life to come to you.
The problem is that then you’re stuck in the reality you get, if you like it or not. Rather than leading your reality, you have to react to whatever reality appears.
The problem with this style of living is that you rarely get to choose what type of life you live. You are never in the driver’s seat. You’re never leading your life. You’re never in control of the reality you get. Life just happens, and you’re stuck reacting to whatever appears in your life.
THE PROACTIVE LIFE:
The style of living life, a proactive life, means that you get up and become motivated to take responsibility for the direction of your life. You become a leader, and you choose what type of reality you want to live in.
Then the secret ingredient to create a proactive life is that you must apply focused, determined action to create and achieve the life you want.
Living in a proactive state is like being a gardener of your life.
You spend time planning and preparing your life garden. You examine each decision you make like it’s a seed that’s going to grow into your reality. Then you plant the decisions you like, and weed out the ones you don’t, and you nurture your decisions to grow into a beautiful reality.
To create wealth in your life, you have to become a master at living a pro-active life. When all you’re positive decisions start bearing fruit, then it’s time to harvest them, and enjoy all the work you put into creating your perfect reality.
That is what a wealthy life looks like. Wealth almost never just magically appears. You have to grow it one decision at a time, and then harvest the fruits of your decisions. It takes work, determination, and dedication to live a pro-active life.
BE MORE PRO-ACTIVE IN LIFE: LESSON #1
The importance of living a pro-active life was blasted home again for me last night when I was talking with a friend.
We were at a charity event. There was a band in the main room, and people were spinning around the dance floor. The band was in a deep groove as we talked, and I looked at my friend and said:
“The reason we probably get along so well is because we’re both control freaks.” I said to her.
“Except we’re not control freaks in the traditional, negative sense, because we remain likable, team-players, and fun to work with at the same time. We know how to push our agenda to get what we want at all times, while still being fun, team players to work with.”
I watched the people dance and the band flow their groove into the next song. I thought about the friend I was talking to. She’s extremely valuable to the company she works at, and I realized this is probably the core reason why. She is a master at living a pro-active life in her job. It’s a very rare trait to find in people because you have to be fully in control, while being likable, easy to work with, and team-players at the same time.
As we left the party that night, I thought deeply about our conversation on our way home. I realized that this was a great illustration of what a proactive life looks like:
To create wealth, you have to be able to make a winning plan for your life, and fearlessly push your agenda ahead at all times no matter what other people may think of it. Yet you have to be likable, fair, and fun to work with at the same time.
BE MORE PROACTIVE IN LIFE: LESSON #2
Yesterday, we woke up in bed, and another thought struck my wife. She sat up in bed and drank her coffee.
“I used to be so worried about what other people thought of me, that I was never able to be confident living my own life.” She said, “It’s strange, but my entire outlook has changed since I’ve learning how to live a pro-active life. I no longer care about what other people think of me. I just don’t have time to care, because I am busy trying to lead my life to where I want it to go, rather than being worried about what other people want me to do.“
She continued, “I’m realizing that I have to make sure I am healthy and happy first, before I can help anyone else. I have to be pro-active pursuing my dream life, before I can help other people find theirs.”
I sat up in bed, and I looked proudly at my wife.
I was so excited to hear her say that, because now we can both start taking control of our life and our marriage with a pro-active mindset. We will never have to wait for life to come to us, and be trapped in a reactive prison again.
I thought about her revelation. She is so right. Every bit of wealth we have created has come from planning, being determined, and applying action to our ideas to create a pro-active life. Once you fall in love with creating your dream life, you stop caring about what other people think, because they don’t matter anymore.
I replied to Amanda. “You’re not afraid of what people think, because you realize it’s a waste of time to live a reactive life. You’re better than that now. You’ve risen above your past.“
Amanda thought about my comment, “You’re right. I am the one in control of my future now. I am the one defining my journey. Being pro-active is the source of all wealth.”
Become aware. Become a leader. You can do anything you put your mind to.
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