If you don’t buy my argument from Episode V about the idea that to be truly successful, you need to think “proactive” rather than “reactive”, let’s consider one more idea from Covey’s book.

At the beginning he talks about “production” (P) versus “production capacity” (PC).

Let’s use the analogy of an automobile. The product (P) of an automobile is high speed movement – traveling miles quickly.

The production capacity (PC) of the automobile is how much mileage it will generate over its lifespan.

Now, if you take the car out, floor the gas pedal and slam on the brakes all the time, you get a lot of short term production. If you push it hard without maintaining it, you are producing lots of P – for a while.

But during that time, the PC is dwindling steadily. Soon, the car won’t start and the engine needs a rebuild.

You’ve traded short term excessive production ℗ for a longer term drop in production capacity (PC).

As Covey points out, humans work exactly the same way. If you hit that gas pedal too hard (i.e. feeling “forced” by circumstances to work 70+ hours per week), the PC will diminish. Students burn out. Lab techs get frustrated. Professors get stressed out and give themselves health problems that are attendant with undue stress.

There must be a P/PC balance in everything. Being proactive is one component of maintaining that balance. It requires thinking about the balance ahead of time, and rather than just reacting to whatever comes along (or the emotional responses to whatever comes along), making a rational decision ahead of time.

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