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Wednesday, April 25, 2007 

The Power of Proactivity

Just a quick note about how proactiveness or proactivity can work wonders. Its just a matter of realizing that by being proactive, one gains a chance at obtaining what is wanted. I do consider myself proactive, but an experience today morning just pushed my level higher and I realized the tremendous power of proactivity all over again.

So I was walking with my girl friend towards a bus stop in the morning. I was hoping to catch a bus to go downtown to the venture fund and she was to carry on walking to the university from there on. Suddenly, one block away, I saw two buses coming - one that stopped at the stop I was walking towards and another that stopped at a stop where the buses were at that moment. I was 20 steps away from my stop when I started running to make it there on time. Unfortunately, I didn't make it and the bus driver didn't stop at the bus stop since there was no one waiting there. I dont think he even saw me running. Had the bus stopped at all for someone to get down, I would have gotten the extra few seconds and made it to my bus.

By now, the other bus, which was one block away had already stopped at the other stop which was across the street to my left. It picked up its passenger, shut the doors and was about to turn. I had written off my chances of getting that bus as well. No, I am not lazy and usually live life proactively myself as well. But I was damn sure that I was going to miss the second bus too. Even if I ran to get to the stop, I wouldn't have made it. I was resigned to the fact that now I would have to wait another 20 minutes for the next bus. By trying to run to this different stop and missing another bus again, I didn't want to be disappointed twice.

I am sure everyone has felt this fear of being disappointed at some point and it has probably prevented us from getting what we wanted. Often we feel like being introduced to someone influential and we think to ourselves, how can I just go and introduce myself. We just give up an opportunity because we fear the negative outcome. Our fears could be coming across as foolish or silly, or being disappointed by someone's negative reaction about our ideas or just plain missing the bus. And by giving up like this, we are almost guaranteeing ourselves of the negative outcome. We will never get what we want if we don't try. However, if we try, we worry we will be disappointed and in that moment, for some reason, avoiding the disappointment becomes our primary goal shoving our primary goal in the background.

Here is where positive thinking and being proactive can be useful. If we keep our goal in mind and do not give in to our fears, chances are we might actually get it. And in the end, if things don't turn out as we expected and we don't, in most cases, we are no worse of than we would have been if we didn't take any action.

How did my situation turn out you ask? My girl friend suggested to me "well, can't you take that bus?". I said "yeah, I can, but its already too late to get that one". The bus was now waiting at the intersection, about to turn right. I still had to cross the road to get to the bus. It was not my right of way to cross yet and there was too much traffic to just jaywalk. And if I waited for my turn to cross the street, the bus would have gotten its green light too and would have immediately turned before I even reached half way across the intersection.

Unexpectedly, she said we'll just wave and see if the driver waits. And thats what she did. And surprisingly the bus driver had seen me miss my previous bus while he was at his stop and was actually waiting at the intersection to see if I wanted to take his bus all this while. If she hadn't waved and urged me to try to get this bus, I would have needlessly wasted this opportunity to get to work early. All because of my fear of missing two buses in one minute and looking like a fool. In the end, I boarded the bus at the intersection and my friend saved me not only precious morning commuting time but I also realized a few things about how lost causes are saved, just by a pinch of proactivity. (*Image courtesy: ldsuccess.org here and here)
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About me

  • I'm Indyman
  • From Seattle, WA, United States
  • I am a Risk Management Consultant at KPMG. Before this, I was an Investment Associate at University Venture Fund in Salt Lake City, UT. My personal interests are in venture capital, private equity, technology, real estate, entrepreneurship, investing, stocks, india, patriotism, mumbai, hanoi, vietnam and life in the united states.
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