Monday, March 30, 2009

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Habit #1 Be Proactive

Taking the initiative is a characteristic of highly effective people. Being proactive means that you can decide how the things around you influence you, in other words you can control if the circumstances around you abuse you or if you control them.

Covey explain this by referring to Viktor Frankl, who was a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp. His entire family, except for one sister, was murdered in the camps. As horrific as his circumstances were, Frankl recognized that he was free, because he could decide how he would think and act in the midst of the horror. Even when he was a starving prisoner, he visualized himself lecturing in a classroom, telling students about the horror and what he learned from it. His mental discipline made him stronger than the camp guards. He inspired fellow prisoners and even some of the guards themselves. Frankl was pro-active. He took the initiative and accepted
responsibility for his fate. He recognized that fate was his to decide. He did not have the
power to walk away from the camp, but he had the power to master it.

You are what you do and say and an important element to start being proactive is that you start using the appropriate language, meaning using positive sentences instead of negative ones.

Instead of:
- Not he drives me up the wall, I can choose how he will affect me.
- Not, I can't or I have to, I will decide and I will choose.
- Not, that is just me, I can change the way I am.

Being proactive has a lot to do with starting the change within you instead of waiting for other to change.

Next: Habit #2 Begin with the end in mind

1 comment:

ProfSeeman said...

You make some good points above.
However, I also think that this can be helpful to you:
The book and Training Video: PREVENTING Classroom Discipline Problems

If you can get this book and video: [they are in many libraries, so you don't have to buy them] email me and I can refer you to the sections of the book and video [that demonstrates the effective vs. the ineffective teacher] that can help you.

If your library does not have them, you can get them at:

that are also used at this online course:

See: Reviews at:

If you cannot get the book or video, email me anyway, and I will try to help.

Best regards,


Howard Seeman, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus,
City Univ. of New York

Prof. Seeman