The quality that separates happy people from unhappy ones

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There used to be two kids in a village called Oliver and Lucas. Both of the kids wanted to get out of the village and create a better life for themselves and their families. Towards their teenage years, Oliver decided to move to the city and stay at boarding school. 

Oliver went to school in the morning and worked as an uber driver at night. Despite the conditions being abysmal, Oliver persevered. Most people would lose their hope after a while since it seemed impossible to make it. 

That is actually why Lucas decided not to do anything. He kept making up excuses and using phrases like “If only I could”  or “I can’t” to justify doing nothing. Despite moving slowly, Oliver eventually finished school, got a better job, and started living a better life. 

The difference between the two kids from the village was the fact that one was proactive and took responsibility for his own life while the other one became reactive and made excuses. 

This is the thing that separates the happy and successful from the unsuccessful and unhappy. If you’re not willing to take responsibility for your own life, no one else will help you. 

Authors Note

We wish our readers don’t just simply read this story but rather also reflect on the lessons mentioned. See if you can implement any of the lessons taught in your life.

Book: The 7 habits of highly effective people 


Be proactive: We are all responsible for our own lives and what happens to us. Our lives are the results of our decisions, not our conditions. We have the power and the responsibility to make things happen. 

Look at the word responsibility — “response-ability” —- the ability to choose your response. Highly proactive people recognize that responsibility. They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. Between the trigger and response, you have the freedom to choose.  

Reactive people are affected by their physical environment, if the weather is bad, they feel bad and it affects their attitude. Reactive people are also affected by how people treat them. Reactive people build their emotional lives around the behavior of others, empowering other people to control them. 

As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can hurt you without your consent”. Many people wait for something to happen or someone to take care of them. But people who end up with good jobs are the proactive ones with the solutions to problems, not the problem themselves, who seize the opportunity to do whatever is necessary.

 Tips for being proactive

  1. For a full day, listen to your language and to the language of the other people around you. How often do you use and hear reactive phrases such as “if only”, “I can’t”, or “I have to”? 
  1. Identify an experience you might encounter in the near future where, based on past experience, you would probably behave reactively. Think about how you could respond proactively?
  1. Select a problem from your work or personal life that is frustrating you. Determine whether it is direct (due to your own behavior), indirect (due to the behavior of other people) or no control (Things you have no control over such as the past or situational realities.) Identify the first step you can take in your circle of influence to solve it and then take the step. (Circle of influence is something you can do about).

Notice: The story and characters above are fictional. 

Reflection Form

Reflection Form

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