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Author • ODUBIYI, JOHN  


WordWeb defines proactivity as (of a policy, person or action) controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than waiting to respond to it after it happens. In the same vein, the English Mini (Mobile) says proactivity is acting ahead of time to deal with an anticipated change or challenge. Synonyms of proactive includes; anticipatory, forward-looking, active etc. 

Being proactive is an important attribute one should have in this day and age. It could also be referred to as a skill, which is required in workplaces, in institutes of learning, in every sector and also in everyday life.

There are two kinds of people, the reactive and the proactive ones. On attitude or reaction towards learning; a reactive person believes he knows enough and doesn’t see the point of learning, while a proactive person keeps learning and developing him or herself no matter how old and how busy they are.

On mindset at work; reactive people only do what they are told, and when they are done, they wait for more orders. They are stuck in the same position for years. They do not contribute new and innovative ideas to the furtherance of their works and workplaces. While the proactive ones do their job and look for improvement and opportunity, that’s why they are more likely to be promoted than those who wait for orders.

On attitude towards change; reactive people settle in one position and do the same old routine, change for them is associated with discomfort and an unpleasant feeling. They also deal with things as they come. They act like firefighters, and barely move except it is necessary to move, and everything for them is done in the last minutes. More so, they are often surprised by situations. They don’t plan, they waste time with unproductive things and feel overwhelmed with things. While the proactive ones are organised and prepared for the future and not only prepared for present phenomena.

Characteristics of the proactive and reactive:


1) They don’t blame people or anything, they take responsibility, learn and gain insight from situations.

2) Their behaviour is a product of conscious choice based on values.

3) They are still influenced by external stimuli, but their response is a value-based choice.


1) They blame people for circumstance condition and conditioning.

2) They are influenced and make decisions based on their condition and feelings, not values.

3) They build their lives around others emotions and so much depends on others.


1) Predict and prevent: Anticipate situations, hence you won’t be caught by surprise.

2) Plan: Have an agenda for every event. Plan your daily activities.

3) Have a clear goal and vision. 


1) It allows you to dictate your particular position and supplies a sense of control over whatever situation you may be facing.

2) When you are proactive you can think and act ahead before your circumstances change. You will be more comfortable in any situation you are in because you will have more control over the shift in circumstances.

3) Being proactive will result in you having more time to complete whatever task you have before you. When you are proactive, you start earlier than you would have otherwise by so doing, it provides you time to be methodical about your decision rather than rushed.

4) Being proactive allows you to be flexible. Proactivity affords you the opportunity to change plans on the fly without feeling much stress. It enables you to transition to the pressing matter without accumulating more stress than you were already experiencing.

5) Finally, having a proactive approach allows you to better plan for the future. By being proactive you can properly plan for the future knowing that if an unexpected situation arises you will have the time and flexibility to handle it.



Ed. Olapade Matthew

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