Hey! I hope you’re having a great day!
In the late 1980’s a groundbreaking personal development book called “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” was published by Dr. Stephen Covey. When it was released, I’m sure that no one including Covey could have predicted the massive success and influence it would have.
In addition to selling millions of books, it catapulted Covey into a position of influence that was truly astounding. He was named one of the top 25 most influential Americans and his book was named one of the top 10 most influential books, both by Time Magazine.
When I first went through this book I was in my early 20’s and like many young people, I was living a very reactive lifestyle. I would go about my life doing the things that I wanted to do for my own enjoyment and when I would encounter a problem that deterred me, I would address it and then return to my previous path of life.
Thankfully I did have a few proactive behaviors going for me. I was pursuing higher education and practical knowledge that could help me improve peoples lives in a meaningful way, I was pursuing career success and I was exercising regularly. This contrast of behaviors allowed me to really internalize his explanation of what he said was the number one habit of effectiveness: To Be Proactive not Reactive.
Being proactive begins with a mindset. A mindset that is fixated on the fact that there are things in your life which you can control and that it is your responsibility to make choices that bring these aspects of your life in line with what you desire them to be. This leads to behaviors that stimulate positive change and continues with behaviors that maintain those changes.
Being reactive is also a mindset. It says that we should focus our attention on things that are not fully under our control, which takes our mind off of the things we should be doing to create and maintain positive changes in our life. The reactive mind lives under the belief that no steps need to be taken until a problem occurs and when it does, only what is necessary to solve the immediate need should be done.
Proactive people are always looking for what can be done to improve a situation. Reactive people want things “fixed” so they can move on.
Proactive people say “what can I do to make this better?” Reactive people say “who can fix this for me?”
Proactive people have peace of mind because they know they are making good choices and reactive people will worry about what is going to happen next.
One area where the proactive vs reactive battle is fighting hard is in the mindsets of people towards their health.
I believe the modern medical model is partially to blame for this. The modern medical model tells people that they should take action only when they perceive there to be a health problem of significant proportion and is beyond their ability to manage. Once help is sought, a treatment protocol is administered which could be a round of drugs, therapy or something else. This treatment is typically discontinued as soon as the perception of the problem is gone.
How much more reactive can you get!?
Here’s the thing to keep in mind- this model was developed during periods of history where the biggest health crisis were infectious diseases that were present due to foreign pathogens invading the body. Things like measles, mumps, polio, etc. This model makes sense in this context because you are trying to rid the body of something that isn’t supposed to be there and once it is gone, its gone.
Today we live in an age where infectious disease is much less common. Now we battle things like heart disease, organ cancers, and musculoskeletal problems. These problems are very different than infectious disease because they are not brought on by things that aren’t supposed to be there, they are brought on by things that are supposed to be there failing to work well and breaking down.
Because of this difference we cannot use the same reactive behavior to deal with these problems, it just doesn’t work. We have to be proactively working to improve and maintain the health of all parts of our body because if we don’t they will break down, become dysfunctional and develop problems. This means exercise, proper diet, hydration, sleep and other health behaviors are critical.
It also means that things like Muscle Activation Techniques, which is necessary for improving and maintaining optimal function to our organs of movement and joint protection- our muscles- is also critical. This is the very reason I get it every week no matter how good I feel.
So here’s a quick test- take a look at what you are currently doing to improve or maintain your health. Are you doing it proactively or reactively? What can you do different or better? Based on this assessment- do you feel that you’ve earned the privilege of being healthy, feeling good and being problem free? If so, keep it up! If not, make a change.
Please pass this along to someone who could use a little reminder. We all do sometimes.
To your health!