Proactive versus reactive

Proactive versus reactive



Date lecturer

Mostly referred to when dealing with business and entrepreneurship, an individual can be proactive or reactive. Reactive is defined to be more active about past events more than the future. A reactive person is more concerned about the past and lives his or her life based on the past events. Proactive on the other hand refers to acting to a situation before it happens. A proactive individual act before a situation occurs, before it becomes a confrontation or disaster. Ability to come up with better solutions to problems and to innovate is an advantage of being reactive. Being proactive on the other hand assists in preventing damage that might be caused by a certain event, for example, setting up security during a presidential address prevents chaos erupting. The essay will entail being proactive and reactive and how it assists or what role it plays in life.

Philosophers and psychologists believe that it is essential for a person to be more proactive than to be reactive (Davis, 111). It is significant to know when it is appropriate to be proactive and when to be reactive all dependent on the situation. Being proactive means thinking ahead of time and creating ways by which the crisis or confronting situation can be handled. Being reactive means evaluating past events, separating what is right and what is wrong so as to come up with an effective decision. Being proactive helps improve one’s health and relieves people from stressful situations. This gives a sense of control in life. However, being reactive leads to more stress since an individual’s thoughts linger in the past. A separate group of philosophers believe that a reactive personality can lead to feeling powerless over life’s events and reduces effective decision making. At any point in life unpredictable events occur which require a person to have plans or ideas on how to handle the situation but being a reactive individual prevents one to posses such ideas. This leads to inability to handle or deal with situations once they occur. Chronically reactive individuals acquire stress and become unaware or powerless when events from the future catch up with them (Hirsch, 224). A proactive individual takes the necessary steps required and develops the habit of coming up with ideas to deal with future events or what he or she is anticipating. For example an entrepreneur develops goals and objectives which he or she hopes to achieve. A manager plans and includes alternatives while creating solutions based on anticipated risks in the organization. Being proactive is more appropriate than being reactive.

Personally I am a proactive individual. Factors such as the kind of anticipated events force me to be proactive. Human beings would prefer to be ready for an anticipated situation rather than face the consequences of that event. As a business person, one is bound to face losses and other risks in the organization. Being proactive assists in coming up with plans and ideas to handle such mishaps. Through decision making process it is easy to identify the problem or anticipated risk, to come up with a solution for the problem and to also develop alternative ideas to back up the main solutions. Proactive thinking assists in innovating new ways of manufacturing products, promoting and selling the products. Proactive thinking also assists in identifying opportunities hence one can come up with ways of taking those opportunities and making the best out of them. Comparison between being proactive and being reactive assists in knowing which personality is best both personally and professionally. Reactive versus proactive aids in identifying and measuring the benefits of the two aspects as well as the cons hence one can decide which is best. Through data based on comparison of reactive way of life to proactive ways of life, it is more appropriate being proactive as it aids in making life decisions. Proactive thinking gives one the chance to shape their way of life and dictate where to be or where to go. It is best to learn through past experiences rather than dwell on it since it is impossible to change what has already happened. It is much easier to improve the future. Reactive thinking acts as a barrier to achieving future goals and it ruins the lives of many people.

Being proactive creates an advantage in the business or in the workplace, managers are expected to think proactively and they also expect their employees to do the same. There are five ways of improving proactive thinking in an individual. Predicting is the first way to improve proactive thinking. It is the ability to foresee what will happen in the future. An individual should have the ability to see whether the anticipated event will be an advantage or a disadvantage. One should be able to understand the normal routine of events and the events that are involved. This will assist in knowing or having an idea of what to expect. Preventing is the second step to improving proactive thinking. An individual should be able to come up with ways of overcoming the identified event. Coming up with ways to prevent the anticipated crisis assists in avoiding its consequences. Planning is the third step to improving ways of proactive thinking. Developing step by step procedures of how to handle the future situation assists in developing long term solutions to the problems that one might face in the future. Decision making requires one to plan so as to enable the achievement of the goals and objectives of the business. Participating is the fourth step. Proactive thinkers should be actively involved and not idlers. One should be part of the solution and one is required to provide solutions based on curbing future risks (Pierre, 24). Performing is the last effective action to take while aiming at improving the ability to be a proactive thinker. One should be able to put into action what he or she has come up with. One should be willing to decide and carry out the necessary actions as planned. These are the five steps required to improve on proactive thinking. They follow a sequential order with each holding great significance in improving on proactive thinking (Pierre, 24).

From the comparison and information gained from research it is appropriate to conclude that proactive thinking is the most suitable form of action. Reactive thinking causes greater harm both personally and professionally hence it is recommended that proactive thinking is most suitable. Proactive thinking plays a significant role in our lives as teachers, business men, parents and any other form of career. Each individual is required to come up with ways of handling the future, through predicting, preventing, planning, participating, and performing one can improve on proactive thinking.


Davis, R. Wayne. Best of proactive thinking: the most positive ways of managing behaviour. Valdosta, GA: Accelerated Human Development, 1988. Print.

Hirsch, Michael. Creative response deficit in process and reactive schizophrenics. S.I: 1967. Print.

Pierre, Michael. Crisis management in acute care settings: Human factors, team psychology, and patient safely in a high stakes environment. Heidelberg: Springer, 2011. Print.