In the book the 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, there’s a powerful idea about the circle of influence and the circle of concern.
The Circle Of Influence
The circle of influence includes things that are in our control. Some things in the circle of influence are:
- Our character.
- Our choices.
- How we react.
To focus on the circle of influence is to focus on what we can control.
The Circle Of Concern
The circle of concern includes things that we have no control over. Such as:
- The weather.
- What other people do and say.
To Be More Effective We Should Spend More Time On Things We Can Control
To spend time in the circle of concern is to waste precious time and energy.
Almost 2000 years ago the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius knew the power of focusing on the circle of influence. In his book Meditations, he said:
“The tranquillity that comes when you stop caring what they say. Or think, or do. Only what you do. (Is this fair? Is this the right thing to do?) <…> not to be distracted by their darkness. To run straight for the finish line, unswerving.”
To Focus On The Circle Of Concern Is To Give Up Responsibility
Ultimately we shouldn’t let external conditions dictate our lives.
It’s not what happens to us in life that matters its all about how we respond. And at each moment we all have the power to choose that response.
Some Things In Our control That Can Help us Improve Our Lives
Health- workout 3-5 times per week, eat mostly whole foods, and get 8 hours of sleep per night.
Education – read 45 minutes to 1 hour per day.
Wealth – save/ invest at least 10% of your income each month.
Of course, there are many things we can focus on that can help us improve our lives or help us get to a said goal but this blog post would include an endless list if I were to list them all.
Focus On The End Goal Of What You Want To Achieve And Work Backwards
If you have a goal or an area of life where you’d like to improve, first determine the desired outcome and then make a plan including things you can control now, to reach that goal.
If your goal was to build a blog, you could start posting every day. If you wanted to get stronger, you could start a weekly strength training program.
Life can be overwhelmingly complex at times, but the more we focus on the circle of influence the more simplified life becomes.