Problem Solving

Adopting Proactive Approach In Problems Solving

One of the constructive ways to solve most of our problems in life as human is to learn how to adopt proactive approach instead of reactive approach in problem solving. By proactive approach, I simply means instead of merely reacting to events and things as they happen, you would consciously take control or take charge of your own events and recondition your mind to see things differently.

Proactive approach is one of the Steve Covey’s habit in his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. From his definition, he said that “being proactive means taking conscious control over your own life, setting goals and working to achieve them.” Instead of reacting to events of life and waiting for the right opportunities, you just go out and create your own milky-way of events of your choice and opportunities respectively.

Be Proactive is about taking responsibility for your life. You can’t keep blaming everything on your parents or grandparents. Proactive people recognize that they are “response-able.” They don’t blame genetics, circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. They know they choose their behavior. Reactive people, on the other hand, are often affected by their physical environment. They find external sources to blame for their behavior. If the weather is good, they feel good. If it isn’t, it affects their attitude and performance, and they blame the weather.

The adjective proactive can describe a person who gets things done. If you are proactive, you make things happen, instead of waiting for them to happen to you. So if you are proactive, you are ready before something happens. The opposite is being reactive, or waiting for things to unfold before responding. Proactive people tend to be more relaxed, prepared, and positive due to the precautionary steps that they’ve taken for potential “situations”. They have more control over their future. Being reactive usually forces you take situations as they are and to fix them with minimal time and resources.

Most people think reactively. And reacting to certain events is all well and good. But it becomes a problem when that’s all there is to a person’s life — nothing more than instinctively reacting to stimuli. Reactive people are also affected by their social environment, by the “social weather.” When people treat them well, they feel well; when people don’t, they become defensive or protective. Reactive people build their emotional lives around the behavior of others, empowering the weaknesses of other people to control them. The ability to subordinate an impulse to a value is the essence of the proactive person. Reactive people are driven by feelings, by circumstances, by conditions, by their environment. Proactive people are driven by values — carefully thought about, selected, and internalized values.

Proactivity has been written by many authors but with different titles. For example, Anthony Robbins called it using your Personal will power. Brian Tracy states, “Those who don’t set goals for themselves are forever doomed to work to achieve the goals of others.” Denis Waitley juxtaposes winners make it happen vs. losers let it happen. Dr. Wayne Dyer refers to the proactive as no-limit people. Roger Dawson calls them achievers. Barbara Marx Hubbard labels them cocreators. David Allen uses the terms ready for anything and having a mind like water. The exact terms aren’t important. What matters is making the decision to start consciously directing your own life instead of being pushed along by external currents.

Steve Covey points out that there’s a gap between stimulus and response, and within that gap lies the potential for us to choose our response. Four special human endowments give us this power:

  1. Self-awareness– the understanding that you do have a choice between stimulus and response. If someone insults you, you can choose not to become angry. If you are offered a donut, you can choose not to eat it.
  2. Conscience– the ability to consult your inner compass to decide what is right for you. You can make decisions based on unchanging principles, regardless of what is socially favored at the moment.
  3. Creative Imagination– the ability to visualize alternative responses. By using your imagination, you can mentally generate and evaluate different options.
  4. Independent Will– You have the freedom to choose your own unique response. You aren’t forced to conform to what others expect from you.

Proactive Attitude

Proactive Attitude (PA) is a personality characteristic which has implications for motivation and action. It is a belief in the rich potential of changes that can be made to improve oneself and one’s environment. This includes various facets such as resourcefulness, responsibility, values, and vision. The proactive individual believes in the existence of sufficient resources which can be external or internal. Goods, services, and people are out there and can be influenced to support goal attainment. Intelligence, courage, and strength, for example, reside within and allow goal setting and persistence.

The proactive individual takes responsibility for his or her own growth. A life course is not fully determined by external forces but can be chosen. Neither good nor bad events are mindlessly attributed to external causes. Rather, the proactive individual faces reality and adopts a balanced view of self-blame and other-blame in the case of negative events. However, two kinds of responsibilities have to be distinguished: Responsibility for past events and responsibility for making things happen. The latter is the crucial one here. The proactive individual focuses on solutions for problems, no matter whether the problems have been caused by himself or herself or by others.

The proactive individual is driven by values. Others’ behavior might be determined by their social environment, whereas proactive persons are, in contrast, mindful of their values and choose their path of action accordingly. Although values are influenced by others during the socialization process, people differ in the degree to which their life depends on these values. Once the socially mediated values are internalized they become the leading force to guide the proactive individual’s striving. By the way, values need not necessarily be socially acceptable. Criminals may also have values, and terrorists might also be proactive individuals. The proactive individual has a vision. He or she creates meaning in life by striving for ambitious goals. Again, these need not necessarily be socially desirable goals. Missionaries, politicians, entrepreneurs, teachers, or athletes may have dreams that conflict with those of others, but they have dreams. They have an imagination of what could be, and they set goals in line with their vision. Total Quality Management, for example, is a principle of continuous improvement within companies. The same idea can be transferred to individuals who constantly strive for self-improvement. They accumulate resources, prevent resource depletion, and mobilize forces with a long-term aim in mind. They have a mission, imposed by themselves.

A lack of proactivity can often be traced to a weakness in one of these four human endowments. Maybe you’re spending too much time in a state of low consciousness and never reaching the level of awareness necessary to make proactive life decisions. Perhaps your conscience has become muddled by society conditioning, so you aren’t even sure what you want from life; when something doesn’t feel right to you, you look to others to decide how you should feel about it. Maybe you aren’t taking the time to visualize alternatives. Or perhaps your independent will is being restricted by the pressure to conform to others’ expectations.

It can be argued that on some level, we’re always reacting to events, either external or internal. The difference between proactivity and reactivity can then be viewed in terms of what degree of “mental processing” occurs during the gap between stimulus and response. A proactive person will apply the four human endowments to choose a response (or to choose no response at all). But even more than that, a proactive person will invest the time to make conscious life choices and follow through on them.

Reactive people tend to be out of touch with their core values. Instead of running their lives based on unchanging core principles, they pick up temporary values from others around them. If no special opportunities come their way, they’ll stay at the same job year after year as long as it’s semi-satisfying. If most of their friends exercise, they probably will too; otherwise, they probably won’t. They go with the flow of the people and circumstances that surround them, but they don’t direct the flow. Their lives are largely out of their direct conscious control; they tend to only exert their human endowments when they absolutely must, such as if they get laid off unexpectedly (and even then it’s often to a minimal degree). But when things are pretty good, life is mostly on autopilot.

Proactive people, on the other hand, are aware of their core values. They consciously make key decisions based on those values. They create their own opportunities and direct the flow of their own lives. Even when things are pretty good, they’re still making conscious choices. Sometimes that means maintaining the status quo, while other times it means changing directions. Sometimes their values will align well with what’s socially popular; other times they won’t. Proactive people will take actions that often seem mysterious to reactive people. They may suddenly quit their job to start a new business, even though everything seemed to be going well for them. They’ll often start new projects or activities “out of the blue” when it seems like there’s no externally motivated reason to do so. A proactive person will still pay attention to external events, but they’ll pilot themselves to their desired destination regardless of those events.

If a reactive person were to captain a ship, the ship would flow with the currents. This person would be preoccupied with studying the currents, trying to predict where the ship will end up as a function of the currents. If the currents are good, this person is happy. If the currents are poor, this person feels stressed. On occasion this person might attempt to set a destination, and if the currents are good, the ship will arrive. But if the currents are poor, this person will bemoan them and give up the destination for an easier one.

If a proactive person were to captain a ship, however, the ship would go wherever the captain wanted it to go. This captain would still note the currents, but they’d merely be used for navigational purposes. Sometimes the ship would flow with the currents; other times it would steam against them. It matters little whether the currents are good or not; this captain will reach the intended destination regardless of the currents. The currents can only control the time of arrival and the exact path from starting point to final destination. But the currents have no power to dictate the final destination; that is entirely the captain’s choice.

Do you think that anything that happens “out there” will determine how successful you’ll be in your endeavors? Not if you’re proactive. If you’re proactive, external events can only affect your time of arrival and the exact path you take to your goal. But they cannot dictate your goal for you. Proactive people still get knocked around by the currents at times, but they’ll just keep readjusting their course to retarget their goals, goals which are ultimately attainable by their own efforts.

Of course everyone has a mixture of both proactivity and reactivity. Pure examples of the two extremes are rare. You may find that you’re extremely proactive in one area, while letting other parts of your life slip into unconscious autopilot. So take the time to use your human endowments of self-awareness, conscience, creative imagination, and independent will to shine a light on those neglected areas of your life and consciously choose to get things moving. If you don’t like where the currents are taking you, then change course. Don’t wait for an opportunity to arrive; engineer your own. The reactive people in your life will often throw a fit when you do this, so let them, and exercise your independent will anyway. Even when everyone around you seems to be reactive, you can still be proactive. Initially that will probably feel like swimming against the currents, but if the currents of your life are leading in the wrong direction anyway, that’s a good thing.

7 Ways to Adopt a Proactive Mindset in Problems Solving

  • Focus more on the future
  • Take personal responsibility for your success
  • Think big picture
  • Focus on what you can control
  • Think through scenarios
  • Make things happen

Being proactive takes time, since you have to consider your options, weigh alternatives and make your own decisions in order to achieve your goals. A reactive behavior is influenced by the environment and outside forces. Being proactive means anticipating problems, seeking new solutions and doing your best. Being reactive, on the contrary, means solving problems when they turn up, not waiting for perfect conditions or changes that you think would be favorable before you could do something and doing the minimum effort.

Until Next Time, Live Exceptionally!!

Understanding The Five Basic Financial IQs

This is simply means understanding our five basic financial intelligent quotients. The subject of money has been neglected for a long time in our educational system, and it seems like being ignorant of it has been a simple way for most people to ignore the subject. Most people play it safe in the real world just maintaining their day job without investing on their financial education. They only interested with the token paycheck they received from their employers and plan their lives with only just that. They believed that nothing could be done to raise their financial IQs to make more money from other sources because the entire society has been brainwashed believing that financial education are not important. How’s such analogy about money helping you reach your financial goal lately? 

One of the reasons why our school systems do not teach students much about money is because most schoolteachers operate from entitlement mentality and however, our schools prepare people for such entitlement mentality throughout their lives. Graduating from the high institutions with any information on how money works, but only interested to make money through gaining opportunity either to work for the government or the private sector. People lives in default mindset about the subject of money from generation to generation, and will still pay it to the next generation if nothing is been done about it.

Money alone cannot solve our financial problems, but educating ourselves about the subject of money does. That is why giving poor people much money cannot solve their money problems. In many cases, it only prolongs the problem and creates more people in our society. For example, have you seen someone who won big money from lottery ticket if the person doesn’t have a good financial education, after three to five years, the person will turn out to become poorer compared to his or her standards before winning the lottery. Also, hard work alone doesn’t solve our money problems. Come to think of it, the world is filled with hard-working people who have no money to show for it. Most hard-working people who earn much money, yet they still grow deeper in debt, needing to work even harder to make more money to get by each day. On the other hand, Formal education cannot solve our money problems, because the world is filled with highly educated poor people who only use big grammars to create more problems for others.

The root of our problems is poor or lack of financial education, and the problem caused by a lack of financial education is our inability to solve simple financial problems. Rather than addressing the root of this problem through our educational system to educate people about the subject of money. But many people ignore the problems and enjoy living in ignorant of it. They never pay attention to their spending habits. If we don’t pull a weed up by the root, and only cut off the top, it will come back quicker and bigger in the long run. The same principle applies to our financial problems.

 There are those who depend on the government to solve their money problems, but I do not know how the government can solve their money problems when the government itself can’t solve its own financial problem. Our government keeps growing in debt day by day because those in government who handles our money are financially illiterate. In my opinion, it is up to individuals to resolve and look for ways to solve their own money financial problems. And the good news is that if you can solve your own money problems, it will make you smarter and richer as you perfect your financial problems solving skills.

The Five Financial IQs

Our financial intelligent is that part of our mental intelligent we use to assimilate or solve our financial problems. And financial quotients (Financial IQ) are the measurement of that intelligence. It is how you quantify your financial intelligence. For instance, if you make N100, 000 and pay 20% in taxes, you have a higher financial IQ than someone who makes same amount and pays 5o% in taxes. The person who keeps a lot of money after taxes has a higher financial IQ than the one kept lesser money.

The five basic Financial IQS are:

  • Making more money financial IQ
  • Protecting your money financial IQ
  • Budgeting your money financial IQ
  • Leveraging your money financial IQ
  • Improving your financial information financial IQ

Making More Money Financial IQ

There are those who are very smart when it comes to making more money than others. They are always open to adopt new methods of making money. They are going in learning and trying what they have learnt about making money and when they do, they become smarter and make more money on a daily basis. The more money they make, the higher their financial IQ grows. Simply put, someone who makes a six figure income (a million and above) annually has a higher financial IQ than someone who only make five figure income (below a million). We have seen those who have high academic IQ, those we called genus of our time in the classroom but they were unable to make much money in the real world because there are a lot of differences between academic IQ and financial IQ. Making more money shows how strong is your financial IQ. Look around you, there were those who were doing greatly in academic during your school days, but today, they are not the richest ones among your equals.

Protecting Your Money Financial IQ

Here, if two people make same amount in a year, for example, they make N1,000,000 each and one of them pays less in taxes than the other, the person that pays lesser taxes has learned how to protect his money because he or she is closer to achieving financial integrity by learning how to keep what he makes. The simple truth is that the world is out to take your money and make you lose all you’ve gotten. Even your relatives, friends and government are targeting your money, but your ability to protect your money is what will determine how far you grow financially in the real world. Note, and please don’t miss quote me, not all who took your money are crooks or wants to bring you down. But I’m just saying, the more money you make, people will come close to you for one help or the other. Also one of the biggest financial predators of your money is taxes you pay to the government. The government takes your money legally.

Budgeting Your Money Financial IQ

After making more money and protecting it, the next thing is to budget the money. And this requires a lot of financial intelligence. Someone who makes N1,000, 000 in a year but can’t be accountable on how he or she spends the money has problems in budgeting. Many people budget money like poor person rather than like a rich person. They allowed their emotions to control their spending and do like or nothing on reinvesting their money. Most people make a lot of money but fail to keep much, simply because they budget poorly. For instance, a person who makes and spends N700,000 a year has a lower budgeting financial IQ than a person you only makes N50, 000 and was able to live well on N40,000 and invest back the remaining N10,000. Being able to live well and still invest no matter the amount requires a high level of financial intelligence. Also having a surplus at times, is something you must actively learn how to budget for. This is where maturity comes to play, because you having a lot does not mean you’ve to spend all. You’ve to budget your learn how to control your emotions because it’s what controls your spending. Before you spend, ask yourself how much have I kept for investment and make sure hold yourself accountable on every dime you spent. Do not be carried away due to impulse purchase or instant gratifications.

Leveraging Your Money Financial IQ

Most people only think that the only way to leverage their money is through saving their money in the bank. That’s an old and outdated form of investment. By doing this, you’re just making the owner of the banks to become richer without gaining anything from their riches. They will be trading and investing with your money and little or no interest. After the budgets of the surplus money you made, the next financial challenge is to leverage the surplus. But the problem here is that millions of people all over the world don’t know what to invest in after making the money. Most of them give what they called financial experts their money to invest for them, hoping that the experts will be truthful enough to returns their dividend to them after investment. But entrusting your money to someone is very risky; some of them are real crooks who may run away with your money.

I suggest you start learning about investment; starts small and build from there. Invest on your skills first on how to make money online. Investment could be starting a part-time business you run at home after work. It could be opening laminating and photocopying stand that do not requires much skills to begin with. It could be supporting ideas by turning it to business that generates money for you. Just try something, don’t worry about failure because without trying, you can’t know far and well you could go.

Improving Your Financial Information Financial IQ

There is a bit of wisdom that goes like this, “You need to learn how to walk before you can run”. This is true with financial intelligence. Before you can learn how to make exceptionally high returns by leveraging your money, you need to learn to walk, that is, to learn the basics and the fundamentals of financial intelligence. One of the benefits of being dedicated to your financial education is that over time you will be better able to grasp more sophisticated financial information just as mathematicians are able to solve complex equations after years of practicing math problems. The point here is that we all have to start from somewhere and build up from there.

I started blogging because I’ve spent time trying to understand the basic fundamentals of blogging and it’s working out for me. The basic level of information required to set up a good blog has been assimilated in my brain, and each day, I’m becoming better on what I do. Projecting into the future doing this may be 5 to 8 years from today, who knows how strong I will become doing this?  What I do know is that whatever problems or challenges the future holds, I will look at them as simply as an opportunity to get smarter and increase my five basics financial intelligence. Rather than panic, I believe I can learn to adjust and prosper because of my financial intelligence has become stronger.

On the other hand, I believed most of us have been in a class, lecture, or conversation where the information went right over our heads. Or we have been in a class where the information was so complex, attempting to grasp what was being said hurt our heads. This means either the teacher is a lousy teacher, or the student needs a little bit more basic information.

Money is not the most important thing in life, but money does affect everything that is important to life. When you think of it, money affects our standard of living, health, and education. Everyone is aware that poor people have poorer health, poorer education, and poorer standard of living. Also not, you can be a successful doctor and still be poor. You can be a successful schoolteacher and still be poor. But you cannot be a successful entrepreneur or investor and be poor. This is why understanding the five basics of financial intelligence is very important.  

Using old ideas to solve new problems only creates bigger and newer problems. This is why I believe that five basics financial intelligence are important. If you develop these five financial intelligence, you will have a better chance of doing well in the rapidly changing world. You will be better able to solve your own financial problems and also increase your financial intelligence.

Until Next Time, Live Exceptionally!!