IntroductionOpportunities do not knock at our doors at all times. We need to find out what interests us. We also need to find out if we could develop interests in areas that are somewhat new but have tremendous potential. These are often called "perennial rivers that can never go dry". This is one vital aspect of being proactive. If we get into wrong directions, it will be too late. We only react to the changed circumstances and the damage has already been done. Precious time has been lost.
In this connection, it is important to focus on a) Exploring the world right from the age of 14 b) Collecting huge databases c) Exploring careers that open up tremendous opportunities d) Acquiring appropriate skill sets e) Making full use of skill-sets to earn money f) Keep on innovating.
Exploring the world right from the age of 14This is a vital aspect of becoming proactive at all times. The parents have a crucial role to play. This is the age when the child is on the verge of going into the school final stage. This is also the age when the child becomes very much distracted towards the opposite sex and gets exposed to all the nasty things in life. Spending huge amounts of time with children at this age is crucial.
This can happen in many ways. This should happen through i} getting the child to interact with high achievers in different fields ii} encouraging the child to come up with a vast number of new questions iii) giving the child information about different countries, the higher education courses and so on. It is quite possible that the child is confused with such a vast amount of information. However, the absence of guidance at this stage is disastrous. The child will never be able to decide on "other-things-being-equal" crucial decisions much later.
Let us take a concrete example. A boy who was just 15 was made to interact with his maternal uncle, a superb Chartered Accountant who had a roaring practice in Bangalore. The boy was able to understand what are assets and liabilities, what is meant by a public sector company, what is meant by a private sector company, what is a balance sheet and so on, since the explanation was in native Tamil and Kannada, both languages that the child was very good at. This proactive training made the child decide very early that he could plunge into the commerce stream at the higher secondary level.. As his luck could have it, his father got a fabulous job in Nigeria. He got to study in a very good International School and took an appropriate examination to study further in Canada. Armed with a very good degree, the boy is on his way to do the CPA course.
Such is the exposure needed in today's world. The children should never be distracted at the age of 14. This is a crucial step. Even careers in Civil Services start when the child is determined to study very seriously for it. It requires a terrific amount of discipline. Nothing comes free. It is what is actually called as training of the mind.
Collecting huge data basesThis is very important too. It requires a strict discipline in collecting all the data that is required and is relevant at every stage of life. For example, the smartest of people who already have good careers and good salary packages, are taking one year off as a sort of sabbatical to venture into what is called the Executive MBA. Sometimes this is a two-year course. Smartest people who are very active on Facebook use it very constructively to collect a huge amount of data pertaining to success stories. Even changing track and getting into a new sunrise area is never uncommon. For example, people who have 15 years of experience in hardcore Marketing, with an MBA from an institute like the TA Manipal Institute, which itself is a very good institute, do a full-time Executive MBA even from the IIMs. This gives them the "Sharpening the saw" experience. They do not become outdated.,
Born out of a practical problem is their decision to do the Executive MBA. What is it? Lack of time is the simple answer. 14 or 16 hour work days on even six days a week is so common. The burn out is also very obvious. People need a break. Being proactive means taking the appropriate decisions too. Unless one has the huge databases, the decision can never be taken in the right direction. Credibility, the worth of teachers and so on are vital. For example, at the ISB, the late C.K. Prahalad was a top shot in his lifetime. ISB products recall with fond affection, his video sessions that are part of virtual learning. The originality that he brought to the table was fabulous, according to many such products.
Such databases are relevant even for personal investment. Unless one has a big database on the best mutual fund for a good Systematic Investment Plan of Rs.3000 per month, how can he be sure that he is on the right track? Hence this database is crucial.
Exploring careers that open up tremendous opportunitiesTake this "other-things-being-equal" choice of careers for a B.Com graduate from the prestigious Loyola College, Chennai. The campus placement is superb. Even Goldman Sacks comes calling. The jobs are good too. This is one option.
If the boy is good and has some resource in terms of family support, what if the toss is between the MSW course that leads one to HR as a career, and or the CA course? Logical reasoning would also support the very obvious. HR is a hugely practical field and experience counts. There are several dimensions to it and those who call themselves VP at the age of 35 are common. However, they would have got to work only in non-Industrial relations roles. The money is never the same as what a CA can earn even in many African countries or in Australia or in the Gulf. Even in the USA. The wisest guys get to do what is now called Financial engineering. Let us assume the graduate had very good taste and interest in core accounting.
The MSW course would have meant a big change of track. Sticking to the core would have meant that the individual was pro-active. Money is important too. The glamor is important too. Many HR jobs in manufacturing are all horrible jobs that require doing the delicate balancing trick between Management interests and those of workmen and their organized unions. No wonder that many have heart attacks. Nothing of that sort happens in Finance, at least when the professional goes on to do the Strategic Decision Making. Blood is thicker than water. But money is thicker than both!! This is the new reality of life.
Those who understand this fact and help the Management of Corporate Houses in this regard, climb the ladder very fast. Let us understand this new reality. Manufacturing is similar. Cost cutting should be achieved. Cost of re-work should be zero. Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is in. Those engineers who do not understand this will only be reactive for most of their lives.
Acquiring appropriate skill setsThis is a fact of life. For example, those into hardcore advertising, also need to understand the nuances of digital marketing. The day of direct selling to the customer and engaging him or her is now more severe than ever before. The likes of Amazon.com do have a big role to play here. When they start delivering entire packets of groceries, the MNCs better wake up to this new reality of doing business. The change is already happening. Yet, the friendly neighborhood Kirana fellow is also very active. He knows how to beat the likes of Amazon.com in their own game.
But the Marketing wiz kids of the MNCs and other major Indian companies also need to engage both the forms of distribution. It is not an "either-or" situation. The dangers of being highly specialized are i) the individual will become only reactive or sometimes very passive ii) those who are smarter and are on their toes work much faster at being pro-active. It is a zero-sum game for those who are lazy. The new certificate courses in machine learning have already started doing the rounds. Those in Manufacturing better wake up. Six Sigma is not enough. Total Quality Management is never enough.
Making use of skill sets to earn moneyThose who are now skilled in digital marketing, work for some 24 months in some good company and venture out on their own. Those who work in event management for five years, start their own companies. Those who work in organized catering services, learn the nuances and start their own companies. This is exactly what we call as being pro-active.
The new wave of organic food and their health benefits are taking new directions. The cooks who know the tricks of the trade are very much in demand. They get to train even housewives. The number of new organic food restaurants that keep coming up in many middle-class towns of Tamil Nadu is so huge. These are the new realities. It is always wise to understand the entire universe before taking a plunge into entrepreneurship.
Keep on innovatingThe proof of the pudding is in the eating. This is the famous saying. At the individual level, when a major change occurs, the individual has to not only be fully aware of the change but also understand what it takes to keep on innovating to make the change more meaningful. For instance, when a student prepares for the Civil Services Examination, the concept of learning from history is very relevant. Let us take Globalization in India. A superb amount of data is already available on the internet. The trick is to classify such data under heading such as i) Industrial licensing - the new realities ii) competition between States to attract investment iii) the new forms of business enterprises such as organized retail and the entire IT sector and so on. Naturally, the thread of Globalization runs through each of these dimensions and has a superb amount of data embedded in it. The trick is to study everything in an organized fashion.
The scope for innovation is limitless. Any individual has to understand how it applies to him or her and then decide.
ConclusionBased on a huge number of real-world experiences and observation, the aforesaid aspects of being or becoming pro-active have been discussed. It is a huge topic. Only some aspects have been discussed. Hopefully, there will be other aspects that can come up for discussion at a later stage.
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Being proactive is definitely a great attribute and only a few of us are lucky to develop that in practice. Most of us respond only after the event is over.
Learning proaction requires a lot of home work and experience and those who can exercise such wisdom are poised for success and growth in life.
I feel that experience is one of the most important factor in our life which helps us to become more proactive.
Being proactive means thinking and acting ahead of anticipated events, means using foresight. In most of the cases, we don't expect the consequences of the situations and are apprehensive whereas proactive people always consider it and prepare well for any outcome and face it if anything goes wrong.
Always set goals, be solution focused, be accountable, use smart goals, be consistent and always remember honesty is the best policy. Always remember in life that no one is going to be for you in life and its only you who can think about yourself and do things for yourself to make your life better.
Pro-action cannot be learned in a short time. It is a life long process and each experience adds to it. Pro-action requires not only knowledge and capability but also a lot of timely homework. A person can only act proactively if he has considered all the pros and cons.
It is not that proactive people will never fail. But they will learn quickly from the failure and correct their next step accordingly.
Being proactive is a real requirement for the people who want to have a peaceful and happy life with good progress in their career. If we know what is the work for tomorrow we can do some required homework in the house so that the next day the work can be accomplished without any problems.
Generally, the ladies will do this for their kitchen chores. The breakfast for the next day morning will be planned today and before going to bed the required arrangements will be made so that the next day morning they can attend the work easily. For them, the next morning work will become easy and there will not be any problem sending their children to schools within time with tiffin boxes.
Pre Planning and taking the required steps ahead of the event will see that the event will go as planned without any deviations.