According to Covey, the first habit we must cultivate for success is that of proactivity. This means abandoning the paradigm of strict determinism:
Instead we must embrace a paradigm that includes the interjection of man’s free will:
We are not mere robots led around by our noses; we can choose to stop and think before acting. We must take initiative to act in our circle of influence. Note that this is not simply superficial positive thinking or an attitude adjustment but addressing realities and thoughtfully choosing the best course of action.
Our circle of influence:
- that which we have direct control over – our actions and character
- that which we have indirect control over – our collaborative work with others
I agree with Covey completely on the importance of this habit and have long ago accepted the premise that we are not just listless leaves in the wind but have a will and agency that can influence the outcome of events.