What does it mean to be “reactive”, compared to “proactive” in retirement planning?
The word “reactive” implies that you don’t have the initiative. You let the events set the agenda. You’re tossed and turned, so to speak, by the tides of life. Each new wave catches you by surprise. Huffing and puffing, you scramble to react to it in order to just stay afloat.
In contrast, the image we associate with “proactive” is one of grace under stress. To stay with the previous analogy, let’s say you’re in choppy waters. Now, you look more at ease. It’s not just that you anticipate the waves. You’re in tune with them. You’re not desperately trying to escape them; you’re dancing with them.
It would be great to dance with the rhythm of life, using the ebb and flow of events as a source of energy. But is this only possible to those people who are endowed with a proactive attitude (or, maybe, a “proactive gene”)?
I believe that being proactive is not a mysterious quality that we have, or don’t have. It is a way of dealing with things, that we can develop and strengthen.