Being a Proactive Thinker

I encounter a lot of negativity in my life.  There are people I know who spend an extraordinary amount of time and energy moaning and whinging about their lives and about life in general.

Grey skies and cold temperatures means it is a miserable day.  The news tells sad, tragic stories, which means that the world we live in is a bad place.  The streets are strewn with litter, which means that people ‘out there’ are all nasty, horrible individuals who can’t be reached or changed.  It is terrible how high property prices are.

I cannot tell you how potentially soul-destroying it is to be surrounded by a constant undercurrent of negativity.  Part of me wants to react to it with further negativity – having a bad mood in reaction to all of the negative thoughts.

BUT, I absolutely refuse to subscribe to this negative way of thinking.

I hadn’t realised until recently, but I tend to take a proactive way of thinking instead of a reactive one.  And I believe with some readjustment, everyone has the potential to be proactive instead of reactive.

For me, it’s about continually thinking outside of the box, ‘the box’ being the negative place that others are stuck in.  Striving to not be bogged down by what seems like a bad situation, but instead finding the positives of that situation and using them constructively.

In recent years, I have had to make some significant changes to my life, and some would argue that they were changes for the worse.

Before I had my children, I had a stable ‘job for life’ in the NHS as a cardiac nurse.  I earnt a decent salary, and that salary would have only increased as I stayed in the job.

I had my children, and realised that returning to work full-time was going to really take its toll on the well-being of my family.  So I did the unthinkable and left my job.  I rationalised that although I would be sacrificing job-stability and income, the positive would be me investing in my children.

We sacrificed our home, moving in with my in-laws.  It was hard, but I didn’t dwell on what we’d be losing (privacy and space), and instead focused on what we’d gain – time to make a decision about our long-term plans, freedom to save money and build an alternative life.

We’re now about to move house.  Our first step on the property ladder.  We’ve been incredibly fortunate in that we’ve been gifted money by our families.  Despite this, our house is small.  My husband dwelled on this considerably.  He struggled with the unfairness of having to move away from our area and into a small house.  His ideal was a bigger house nearer to our roots in London.

I saw things differently.  I focussed on how privileged we are, being able to buy a house at all.

Moving away is sad in many ways.  We won’t be a stone’s throw from our friends and family, but we drive, and will only be an hour away.  I’ve sat in traffic for an hour travelling from my parents’ house (less than 7 miles away) to home.  It’s all relative.

Our house is small.  But it’s a whole house.  And it is ours.  The size of the house will force us to be organised about our possessions, to be selective about what we own and to essentially live economically.  And in a world where modern culture can breed excessiveness, living economically is a very good thing.

I could spend my life dwelling on what I don’t have and tying myself in knots over what I can’t change.  Instead, I focus on what I do have and use my energy on the things I can change.

These are just some small examples of how I’ve adopted proactive and constructive thought processes.  However, it can be applied to a multitude of things.

If there is a public issue that bothers you, why waste your time behind your own four walls moaning about it?  Why not get active and do something?  Use your negative energy constructively.

It could be homelessness, animal cruelty, a lack of public service in your area.  All of these things will never get solved or dealt with if everyone angrily paced their living-rooms in a mood about them.

In this day and age, there is no excuse to be passive and apathetic.  The prevalence of social media means that we all have the power to promote a change in something we’re not happy with.  We have the freedom to speak out about our concerns.  There is an audience waiting to listen.  To bounce ideas off of.

We can create petitions, write blogs and film videos containing our powerful ideas and share them through our computers, tablets and smart phones.  All of the software is at our fingertips – and free!

At the tap of a keyboard we can reach out and make contact with people who have bigger powers than us to influence change.  We can Tweet our MPs and email our councillors.  We couldn’t have so readily reached out to these people a few decades ago.

There is so much energy wasted by people talking, but not doing.  It’s frustrating and unnecessary.  Wouldn’t it be marvellous if everyone used the energy they expel talking to drive changes in the causes they believe in?  Convert talk to discussion.  Convert discussion to action.

So the next time something is going on in your life that you perceive negatively, try to seek the positives.  Look for the learning points.  Find the aspects that you can change.

I firmly believe that there is a positive to every perceived bad situation.  It may be a struggle to see the positives straight away.  Physically writing things down can help.  List the pros and cons onto paper.  Even if you find only a couple of pros, focus on them.  Deal with the cons that really need dealing with and throw the rest away.

If something bad happens, don’t dwell on it.  To dwell is to waste time and energy on something in history that cannot be changed.  It’s done.  Instead, try to take a lesson from the situation.  Life’s lessons are powerful learning tools and opportunities for you to avoid repeating mistakes.  These are the things that nurture your wisdom.

Finally, just do.  If something really affects you, find a way to take action. Get writing, get discussing, get out there and meet whoever you need to construct some change.  Be proactive.

Are you a proactive thinker?  

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12 thoughts on “Being a Proactive Thinker

  1. So pleased to hear you are about to move to a home of your own. I am certain that this will be the first of a number of moves over the coming years. Regarding your career and motherhood, your career will be waiting for you, you cannot compromise the time you spend with your young children as it us period you will never have back. When you grow older and hopefully have Grandchildren, you will understand fully what I am saying. You are very lucky that you have married a man who supports you and agrees with your motherhood, the basis of a good team and refects a strong marriage. You are both very fortunate to have loving a supportive parents, something that so many of your generation not have. Enjoy the start of the next adventure.

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  2. Well said Mrs Chick. You are most definitely a positive person and you are so right that moaning about things does nothing to change to change them, we all should be thinking ‘what can I do?’ for any of the problems we encounter in our daily lives. I really enjoyed how you put this as being proactive rather than reactive. We will most definitely miss you after you move, although your move certainly does not mean goodbye. More than anything I am so glad for you that you have worked out a solution to your problem, rather than being defeated by it. Xxx

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  3. Ahhh hon I absolutely love this post! You are so right, we are utterly privileged to live in the UK and have all we do, but too many people hold on to negativity and focus (and dwell) on the things that are ‘wrong’ with their lives. I too believe that social media has a lot to answer for xx

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  4. Hi, a brilliant and uplifting post – something I really needed to read. I am going through a lot of s**t at home and have been focusing too much on the negative. I need to keep reading your words of wisdom to get me out of this funk! Thank you for giving me a kick up the bum!

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  5. I was nodding throughout this post. You are so right! I think there’s almost always a way of finding the positives in situations. I agree with Reneé about social media having a lot to answer for – I sometimes feel I am plugged into the collective consciousness of the universe and it becomes overwhelming very quickly especially when there’s lots of negativity and fear around. It sounds like you are good at homing in on what’s really important in life and basing your decisions on that – good on you. xx

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  6. I love this post. Negativity certainly breeds negativity. I have tried to distance myself from negative people recently As I joked with the tesco man this morning that I had lived without coffee for 2 days it dawned on me how bloody lucky I am that this is the worse thing I can moan about! Hope your move goes well. X

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  7. Congratulations on the move Fiona… and wise words! I can be a prolific moaner sometimes. I was moaning about where to put bookshelves last night. Bookshelves! I’m red faced… Thanks for reminder that positivity goes a long way! x

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  8. I love your writing and your mentality Fi, I’ve always thought that you’re a kindred spirit. It’s up to us to be proactive and look for the positives rather than dwell on the crap.
    I was nodding along when you said you’d have a whole house. No matter what size it’s yours! All yours and that is an amazing, wonderful and privileged position to be in. Just imagine the kids smiling as they run to their new rooms! Oh and the joys of being able to walk around in your undies without distressing the in-laws! (maybe that’s just me..)

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  9. YES to this, you and I are so similar, I truly see the best in all and every situation where possible, it takes a lot to make me feel otherwise but I really get so tired of the complainers and drainers. I want to uplift and inspire and be inspired in return. You rock gorgeous x

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  10. Completely, totally, 100% agree. Being proactive and positive is so much more fun (and productive) than being negative. The worst thing about negative people is that they feel compelled to drag you down with them, whether through just being a ‘mood hoover’ or by directly attacking others. Life’s too short to dwell on what isn’t.

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  11. What a fantastic post! I’m naturally quite pessimistic I think – or I suppose my childhood had conditioned me to expect the worst – but over the last few years I’ve made an enormous effort to shift my perspective to an automatically positive one and I’m so much happier for it; really, choosing how you approach these things makes such a difference.

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