Recently I have been thinking about if there is a true and complete definition of “Proactive”. And here below is what I come up with Wikipedia:

The term was popularized in the business press in Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Though he used the word in Frankl’s original sense, the word has come to mean “to act before a situation becomes a source of confrontation or crisis” vs. after the fact. It is frequently contrasted in opposition to the words “reactive” or “passive.”  (Source:

I thought I was proactive when graduated from university, coz i was that kind of persons who will step out to do those challenging and troublesome tasks other people will try every effort to get aways from.

And then I found I was wrong when I started to work in Radica. There I got a new meaning of “Proactive”, which is “the willingness to share other team mates’ workload and achieve more”. Well, I did it and I thought I was proactive.

Later, I was told by Francis that “Proactive is also the heart and execution to make something happen”. And then I realized that people should do those are needed to be done, rather than only those are assigned. I was so happy that I got somewhere. Yup, it is nearly proactive enough, few people manage to do it in today’s society.

Last month, when Mary came to visit GZ office, I learned a new and extended definition of being proactive. Sometimes we got the heart to make something happen, but the reality is so cruel that it cannot be done by ourselves. Most of the time I would give up and seek for help, letting my supervisor know that I cannot manage it. However, being proactive means in scenario like this, we should be part of the solution, say we make out a plan and seeking for supervisor’s help is part of our solution. And we are outside coordinate with different parties, higher level or lower one, as long as you get things done, who cares? What matters is that we achieve what we want! And that’s so far the highest level definition of proactive I can come up with.

Being proactive is hard, while it brings great value.

Keep being proactive, Jeff!

26 Jun, 2008