Monday, November 12, 2007

"Proactivity" defined

I've recently started reading Stephen Covey's "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People". The first chapter or so were kind of boring but while waiting for my flight yesterday I got through reading about the first out of the seven habits: Proactivity.

It inspired and excited me because everything Covey said made complete sense and I wished I could get his message through to every Muslim, starting with myself. So here goes my effort of being Proactive, and trying to share a few of Covey's words with you:

"The word proactivity is now fairly common in management literature, it is a word you won't find in most dictionaries. It means more than merely taking initiative. It means that as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. Our behaviour is a function of our decisions, not our conditions. We can subordinate feelings to values. We have the initiative and the responsibility to make things happen.

Look at the word responsibility-"response-ability"-the ability to choose your response. Highly proactive people recognize that responsibility. They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behaviour. Their behaviour is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their conditions, based on feeling.

Because we are, by nature, proactive, if our lives are a function of conditioning and conditions, it is because we have, by conscious decision or by default, chosen to empower those things to control us.

In making such a choice, we become reactive. Reactive people are often affected by their physical environment. If the weather is good, they feel good. If it isn't, it affects their attitude and their performance. Proactive people can carry their own weather with them. Whether it rains or shines makes no difference to them."

Based on the definition above, it seems obvious to me that Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) is one of the greatest examples of proactivity because of his attitude towards spreading the message he believed in.

Also, conspiracy-theory minded people are by definition NOT Proactive. That means half the population of the Muslim world, I think. We have a long way to go to become the proactive community our Prophet would have wanted us to be.

I hope the next six tips are as useful and inspiring. If they are you will be hearing more about them from me.

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