Game Changer: a refreshing lens on “proactive vs reactive”

I have a different take on the issue of proactive vs reactive than what you might be used to. Most define these terms in the context of expectation or anticipation. I Googled these terms and listed below some of the descriptions I found.


  • Eliminate problems before they appear or grow
  • Connect the dots and come up with a game plan
  • Anticipate what the future will be and react accordingly
  • Being flexible and adaptable to what is happening around you


  • Responding to a situation
  • Actions precipitated by an external cause
  • Showing a response to a stimulus

Many describe both terms relative to some impending event that you will be subject to in the future. For “reactive,” this makes sense. Defining “proactive” within the same context, yet acting to prevent or plan for it, is not the opposite of reactive; rather, it is just a step down from the truly passive “reactive” definition.

What if being proactive meant not that you prepare for what’s coming, but that you CREATE what’s coming?


That’s right. In line with the other blog posts this week that turn the concept of proactivity on its head, I’d also propose that being proactive has nothing to do with anticipation but instead, has everything to do with creation.

You do something unexpected to thrill someone, or to help someone instead of doing what you’ve always done.

You go beyond the current rules of engagement where predictable scenarios lie in your anticipation, and instead, you act outside those parameters.

You create the conditions you want rather than waiting for, or even being prepared for, things to happen to you.

Reactive = you do nothing about an impending event

Traditional proactive = you act in anticipation of an impending event

Aurelian-level proactive = you go create the event

So go be Aurelian-level proactive, friends.

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