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Is it Better to Be ProActive or ReActive?

I am very Proactive.  This is according to my Performance Style Analysis.  It is very accurate.  I am actually very proactive.  So I am bias to being proactive. But is that good? is it better to be proactive or reactive?

There is no right and wrong in this as with many other things in life and personalities.  You are what you are and the most important thing is to:

  • Understand yourself
  • Accept yourself
  • Relate to why you are the way you are and the way others are

Proactive people might do better in certain positions.  For example, starting a new initiative, venture, and even trip.  Proactive people usually love to lead.  They want to be on top of things.  They want to make the circumstances, not live according to circumstances.  I know this sounds great and romantic, but in reality it can cause a whole lot of problems.

Being proactive makes accepting the status quo very tough for proactive people, and for the people who work around them.  Proactive people want to question everything and find a new and original way of doing something, when the old fashioned way is just fine and even faster and more efficient.  If you work with a proactive person you will know what I mean: They want to question every single reason why things are done the way they are.  This sometimes is good but in other times it is such a waste of time.

Let us look at reactive people.  These people are not negative as the term “reactive” might suggest.  They are more of the cautious flexible and adaptable type.  They can deal with what the situation throws at them and deal with it.  This is not negative by any means.  There are lots of advantages to having a reactive person working with you.  First, they ask less questions about why things are the way they are and they try to work with what they have.  Needless to say, this is very efficient in certain situations.  Because of their stable nature, they are usually amiable and do not come across as aggressive.  While that is good but on the other side of the coin their is their “too cool” nature which can get on other people’s nerves.  It is hard to get a “reaction” from a reactive person, no pun intended.

So what to do here? instead of wondering which is better, maybe the best thing is to understand these personality types, observe them, and learn to work with them, knowing what they bring to the table and try to exploit their positive aspects and deal with the less desirable aspects.

I do not advise anyone to try to change themselves.  To the contrary, learn about yourself, accept it, relate to it, and work with it.  Same applies to working with others.

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