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Be Proactive


Being happy is an exercise of our freedom


We may have heard or read about Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The first habit is Be Proactive. Underlying this habit is a simple but powerful idea, that “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our happiness.”


Each of us has many events (or stimuli) that act on us. Many times, we react. When we’ve had a bad day at the office, we bring our bad mood home to the family. What the first habit reminds us is that the stimuli need not determine what we do. Instead of reacting to the emotion or circumstance of the moment, we can choose our response, basing it on our deepest values. What we need to do is develop a capacity to pause, and to use our human capabilities (self-awareness, conscience, imagination, will) to create the situation that we want for ourselves and our family.


How can this Habit of Being Proactive be practiced?

As you come home from work, do you put your life on pause? Do you recognize the emotions that you are bringing into your home? Are you aware that many times, you are critical with your spouse or children? Or perhaps, you are so tired that your instinctive action is to relax and take care of your own needs? Before you enter the door, do you think of the kind of environment and feeling that you want to help create when you enter the house? Do you tell yourself, “My family is the most enjoyable, most important part of my life. I’m going into my home to communicate my love for them.” And when you do enter the door, do you rise above your fatigue or setbacks at work and consciously try to interact positively with the members of your family – kiss your spouse, give a kind word to your kid, do whatever it takes to create pleasantness or happiness?


Think about the proactive choices you can make and the impact it can have on your marriage and family!


John Ooi is a father of six children. He writes regularly at It takes a Village to Raise a Child e-newsletter. Article is reproduced with permission.

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