You shouldn’t be. Instead, you should be initiating.

Chris Guillebeau outlined yesterday nine ways to guarantee (un)happiness. One of them?

Respond instead of initiate. Take no responsibility for your schedule or preferences. Let other people set the agenda for your life. Take the lead for your schedule from your Inbox, voicemail, or someone else’s demands.

I’ve never been good at taking orders. When I was young I’d always have that asterisk on my report card that read, “Doesn’t Follow Instructions”. What can I say, I was a nonconformist from the beginning.

We hear often that the only choice we have is the choice of how we respond to the hand we’re dealt. And while certainly some things are out of our control, I believe the better mantra is that we have the choice to initiate – to take charge – to set our own agenda and make our own plans. To take the lead.

In fact, I believe that to be the key to success – the key to personal fulfillment – is to life life on your own terms. Not terms someone else has created for you.

That doesn’t neccesarily mean you need to quit your job to start a company and travel the globe. It may mean staying exactly where you are right now, because you choose to do so. 

It’s easy and comfortable to live responsively. To take things as they come. To react to external forces. To speak when spoken to.

But you’ll forever hold yourself back if you simply react. Instead, start initiating. Take charge. Become a leader. Think proactively about the next step and don’t be afraid to, every once in a while, take that bold leap.

About Matt Cheuvront

I empower folks to do the work they want to do and live the life they want to live. I also watch entirely too much Saved by the Bell, run marathons, and drink plenty of craft beer. Check out the work my company is doing at Proof Branding.