The 21st century requires people to be self-actualized agents. This requires capacity and empowerment to analyse the demands of one’s environment and apply all resources at hand (knowledge, skills, technologies, etc.) to take adequate self-fulfilling and self-benefitting action.
Acting independently and showing initiative is a set of skills, attitudes and behaviours characterized by its self-starting nature, its proactive approach and by being persistent in overcoming difficulties. This competence implies that a person does something without being told and getting an explicit instruction, anticipating and acting towards future problems instead of waiting until problems arise and pursuing goals despite potential setbacks or other barriers. It enables the individual to consider things to come (new demands, new or reoccurring problems, emerging opportunities) and to do something proactively about them.
Acting independently and showing initiative represents the opposite of “doing what one is told to do, giving up in the face of difficulties, and reacting to environmental demands. It is about acting rather than being acted upon; shaping rather than being shaped; and making responsible decisions and choices rather than accepting those determined by others. It is a capacity to set a goal, reflect and act responsibly to effect change efficiently using a range of tools and resources relevant for the goal or task at hand.