Proactive vs. Reactive

Today, there is no shortage of content for you to consume.

Humans are chronically full from the content consumption we expose our mind to. Media, and newsfeeds, do an effective job at swallowing up your empty space. We are in an ongoing reactive state of scrolling, refreshing, and consuming. It is considered chronic consumption for this reason, we rarely just think or just spend time in the present moment. When we chose to do something for a meaningful reason, in a calculated way, we are being proactive.

“I like to cultivate empty space because it helps the creative process”
-       Josh Waitzkin

When you are in a state of constant consumption of food, you become obese, sick, inflamed, and chronically ill. For these reasons, the general conception is that you should not eat all day long because it is bad for your body. The same is true for the useless content constantly consumed. It is bad for your mind.


Below are a few things that were created when being a reactive 1 – 3 on The Scale of Chronic Content Consumption.

  • Received and double clicked on promotional email
  • Read social network newsfeed
  • Watched to 6’oclock local news
  • Refreshed social network newsfeed

Below are a few things that were created when being a proactive 7 - 10 on The Scale of Chronic Content Consumption.

  • Building Apple
  • Building PayPal, SolarCity, Tesla and Space X
  • Writing an impactful book that influences generations for centuries such as; Mediations by Marcus Aurelius, or Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Time is the most valuable resource there is. It is nonrenewable. The truth is you can (literally) spend the rest of your life scrolling the various newsfeeds on your social networks. You were born, and instead of attempting to work hard and do something meaningful you hung out in the 1 – 3 area on The Scale of Chronic Content Consumption, and then you died. This describes the life cycle for those who experience the negative externalities associated with Chronic Content Consumption.

You will have a higher quality of life and a greater impact on others if you spend more time being proactive and less time in a reactive state. By building something meaningful, helping others, and or improving your craft, you are put in a position to enjoy your time (on your own terms) and add value to the world. You can become more proactive by building a daily routine, working on your craft (or passions), engaging in self- reflection, asking yourself tough questions, writing down goals and working towards them in a thoughtful way, and helping other people.

I believe this notion described as“proactive vs. reactive” can literally change your life. By living in the present moment and choosing to do meaningful things in a calculated way you can have a dramatic impact on yourself and those around you.

I leave you with words from the man who, in 1854, proactively left a comfortable life in the city, to build a cabin in the woods, write, and seek enlightenment.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.” 
 Henry David Thoreau