Circles of Life

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." (Serenity Prayer)

In his book, ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,’ Stephen Covey distinguishes between our Circle of Concern and our Circle of Influence. The Circle of Concern includes the wide range of things that impact your life – health, family, finances, the economy, political situations etc. Your Circle of Influence encompasses the concerns that you can actually influence. For example, the state of the economy and climate change may concern you, but the average individual has little or no influence over them.

Progressive people focus their attention on the Circle of Influence. They identify what’s in their control and put time, energy and resources into them. Here you can generate change, and when you do, the Circle of Influence grows.

Others become preoccupied with the Circle of Concern – the things over which they have little or no control. Because they focus on that which is (currently) unchangeable, they tend to become frustrated, and over time their Circle of Influence shrinks because they neglect it. The gap between the two circles determines dissatisfaction and frustration in our life.

On a large sheet of paper draw these two circles and write down as many things as possible that sit within each one. Now reflect on how you are spending your time. Which circle are you primarily operating within?

Identify three things in your circle of concern that you unnecessarily focus on. How can you stop wasting that time and energy?

Identify three things in your circle of influence that you are neglecting. How can you dedicate more time and energy to these things?

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