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Personal Kaizen 10 Rules for Life: Rule 3

The Personal Kaizen team is sharing our 10 Rules for Life. Please watch all of our videos beginning with Rule 1.

RULE 3: Be proactive.

Go after what you want in your life instead of sitting around and waiting for things to happen to you.

Begin by defining your “why” and purpose that maximizes your strengths. Where you are going is more important than how fast you are going. Once you have decided what you want, pursue it. When an opportunity comes along, be brave and take it, even if there is risk involved.

Covey's Four Quadrants - importance versus urgency

Stephen R. Covey defines the four quadrants where all of us spend our time. Quadrant I activities are both important and urgent. Quadrant II activities are important but not urgent, quadrant III is urgent but not important and quadrant IV is neither urgent nor important to do.

Avoid Quadrant 4 "time wasters"
Avoid Quadrant 4 “time wasters”

Everyone reading this post today has more access to “time wasters” than at any other time in history. We have access to millions of hours of worthless video, social media, and games on our laptops and smartphones. These time wasters are designed to engage us (and our children), and every year the time-wasters seem to become more attractive and fun.

Effective people avoid interruptions and time wasters and spend their time on important things. If you want to live your best life you should be proactive about spending your time in quadrant II – planning, preparing, and growing yourself to maximize your effectiveness.  Time in quadrant II also tends to minimize unplanned quadrant I emergencies and crises.

Covey also identifies “Be Proactive” as his first habit of highly effective people. He suggests you focus your time and effort in your areas of control and define the “rocks” that you must prioritize first. These rocks are your most important things to accomplish and nearly always non-urgent, quadrant II activities.

Life is short – and it only seems to pass by more quickly as we grow older. Go after your goals and make the most of every second.

Suggested Action: Identify one “rock” that you want to prioritize. Schedule time to accomplish a “next action” for that rock in the next 72 hours.

Please let us know what you think about this rule for life. We will share Rule 4 next week. Can you guess what it is? Subscribe to have these videos delivered to your inbox.


  • Katie

    Being brave and taking on risks is something that can be challenging for me. Recently, I was asked if what I perceived as my biggest obstacle holding me back could actually just be a simple to-do list of actionable items. That feels very Quadrant II and I can see how if I was prioritizing that list it would be preventing it from always becoming a Quadrant I. And, of course, I have been putting off that writing list by living in the Noise!
    Looking forward to writing out that list over the next few days and finding that rock, thanks for the encouragement!

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