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. Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their conditions, based on feeling.
Be a light, not a judge, be a model not a critic. Little by little, your circle of influence will explode and you will avoid the emotional metastasizing cancers of complaining, criticizing, competing, comparing and cynicism, all which reflect victimization, all of which are the opposite of being proactive.
The ability to subordinate an impulse to a value is the essence of the proactive person. Reactive people are driven by feelings, by circumstances, by conditions, by their environment. Proactive people are driven by values - carefully thought about, selected and internalized values.
Opposition is a natural part of life. Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition - such as lifting weights - we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity.
Too many vacations that last too long, too many movies, too much TV, too much video game playing - too much undisciplined leisure time in which a person continually takes the course of least resistance gradually wastes a life. It ensures that a person's capacities stay dormant, that talents remain undeveloped, that the mind and spirit become lethargic and that the heart remains unfulfilled.
In the space between stimulus (what happens) and how we respond, lies our freedom to choose. Ultimately, this power to choose is what defines us as human beings. We may have limited choices but we can always choose. We can choose our thoughts, emotions, moods, our words, our actions; we can choose our values and live by principles. It is the choice of acting or being acted upon.
The reality is that everybody makes mistakes. The issue isn't whether you will make them, it's what you will do about them. It's whether you will choose the path of humility and courage or the path of ego and pride.
I am personally convinced that one person can be a change catalyst, a 'transformer' in any situation, any organization. Such an individual is yeast that can leaven an entire loaf. It requires vision, initiative, patience, respect, persistence, courage, and faith to be a transforming leader.