Habit 1 Be proactive

Habit 1: Be proactive

Name of student


Habit 1: Be proactive

“Be proactive” is the first habit that Stephen Covey presents in his book that explains a holistic and principled approach to solving life challenges. There are many principles that one learns in Habit one. Covey (2004) argues that human beings should be responsible for their own behavior. Behavior is the result of the decisions that people make, and that human beings have the responsibility of making things happen. Covey (2004) likens responsibility to response to an action.

Proactive people approach life differently from reactive people. For example, proactive people make value-based choices and determine their behavior without blaming anyone, or the environment. On the other hand, reactive people have their behavior influenced by other people or conditions, and they usually blame people or circumstances, in regard to their situation. Covey (2004) asserts that; proactive people cannot be hurt without their consent. They determine their response through self-awareness, imagination and independent will. The emphatic point here is that; even though the environment may pose undesirable stimulus to people, the response is what matters. The reactive and the proactive people respond differently to a stimulus.

Proactive people respond creatively to a challenging situation. They have the drive to act, Instead of depending on the decisions of other people. When faced with a challenging decision or a dilemma, proactive people try to explore the alternatives. They consider a different approach and control their own feelings. On the other hand, reactive people will approach a challenging situation hopelessly. They consider that their ability has reached a point where they cannot help. They don’t have the courage to consider an alternative like the proactive people. Considering the proactive, they approach the challenging situations with a serenity prayer. They seek and gather courage to change their situation. They seek, and desire wisdom to know how better to change things.

There are some life skills that proactive people possess. They listen more than they talk. They create time to listen to others. This gives them an opportunity to garner wisdom. They also are more loving, and better learners. In the work, they are dedicated, and approach it in a joyous mood. The proactive people are also very good in following their commitments once they make them (Covey, 2004). According to Covey, proactivity is demonstrated through keeping commitments that one makes. Keeping one’s word increases their circle of influence.

In the last section of habit 1, Covey proposes how one can become proactive, or maintain their proactivity. One can do this by making small promises and doing the best to achieve them. To be proactive also; one is encouraged to be a light to the other people. While a proactive person tries to show direction, a reactive person only judges situations. Role modelling is also a characteristic of proactive people. To be proactive, one has to try the best, and be a role model to the others. Proactive people act as part of the solution and not part of the problem. Additionally, a bold characteristic of proactive people is to acknowledge a mistake they have done. Proactive people live by understanding that, they are human beings, and they are liable for making mistakes. Finally, to be proactive, one has to refrain from blaming moods, and work only on things that they have control over.


Cover, S. (2004). The 7 habits of highly effective people: Powerful lessons in personal change. Florence, MA: Free Press.