There is a huge difference between living proactively vs. reactively. Living proactively means knowing what I want, why I want it, and the specific sacrifices that I must make in order to achieve it. Living reactively means bouncing from goal to goal, idea to idea, person to person, or thing to thing.
Living reactively never satisfactorily answers the fundamental question, “How badly do I want it?”
Depending on the goal, we’ve all lived both ways.
Resources are finite – whether it is the amount of time, money, energy, or will power. The only way that we will gladly and purposefully commit to achieving something is when we choose to spend these limited resources on the things that matter most to us.
We can’t be all things to all people nor can we possibly do everything. The amount of commitment and level of sacrifice that we are willing to exert is directly related to how badly we want something.
“Things” do not necessarily mean tangible items or symbols of status. In fact, many of the most important “things” are intangible – things like love, respect, or making a difference.
A basic tent of Buddhism states that life is suffering. But rather than this being a depressing edict that negates our very existence, accepting that suffering is a natural part of life can actually be very freeing. In fact, it can help us avoid turning mere “bumps” in the road into cataclysms that throw us off course and derail our progress.
If we want something (whatever it may be) badly enough, then we can transform any roadblocks into surmountable challenges that educate and inspire us. Our view of obstacles is thus directly related to the importance, value, and desirability of whatever it is that we say that we want.
But if we don’t want something badly enough, then we tend to rationalize obstacles as heavenly interventions telling us not to continue toward what we say is a worthwhile goal. Far too often, we quit when we should have moved forward.
We are all human beings, but the things that we want are vastly different. One person’s goal is neither better nor worse than someone else’s. It takes all these different individual goals to create the synergies necessary to move both the world and society forward.
We can’t do it all – nor should we.
But we can and should determine what is important to us…and why.
Only then can we persevere to creatively find solutions to what appear to be insurmountable obstacles. We are more willing to reflect on what is happening so that we can best determine whether to stay the course, modify our road map, or totally transform what we’ve been doing.
It takes courage to boldly state just how badly we want something. We will be questioned or even belittled and ridiculed – it’s part of the journey. We may also find that we need to change our personal networks in order to move forward – while hurtful and sad, it too is part of the journey.
But we won’t do what is necessary unless we believe that what we desire is valuable and even noble. It takes courage not only to express it, but also to act upon it.
If you’re not achieving something that you say that you want, do you really want it badly enough?
Dr. Geri Puleo, SPHR, is the President and CEO of Change Management Solutions, Inc., an eLearning and Coaching company focused on eradicating workplace burnout through the B-DOC Model. An entrepreneur for over 25 years, keynote speaker, author, blogger, business coach, university professor, and researcher, you can see her “in action” by watching her TEDx Talk on YouTube. To contact Dr. Puleo, please go to www.gapuleo.com.