Today I’ll share something that I learnt years ago. It’s been oh so helpful from a sanity preserving perspective. A bit of research indicated that the concept of circles of influence and concern originates from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It’s one I possibly wouldn’t have thought of touching because it sounds well, a bit too thrusty and go getting, if you see what I mean.  How wrong can we be – don’t judge a book by its cover and all that.

I’ve spent ages drawing the diagram in Microsoft Word. It’s a bit cack but I hope it helps to explain what I mean. Our circle of concern (the blue one!) contains all the things that we care about, our health, our family, what the bigwigs at work are up to, what the government are up to etc, etc. The list can go on and on. I’ve put some general examples in the diagram on the left. The circle of influence, that I’ve left white, represents all the things that we can do something about. When we worry excessively about things that we have little control over our circle sinks and we feel overwhelmed. How do we sort this out?

Well, we do this by focusing on the things that we can control thus shrinking the size of our circle of concern. Hence my conscious decision not to be an avid follower of the news. Can I affect what world leaders are going to do about the environment? Probably not but I can start to make personal choices that reduce my own impact. Little steps to begin with, picking up litter, reducing consumption, making considered choices.

By acting in this way I increase my sense of wellbeing and empowerment. And funnily enough my circle of influence magically starts to expands. With time, I may even start to be able to have an effect on those things that we thought were previously outside our control. The ultimate aim might be to expand the circle of influence so that it matches the circle of concerns. Simples! Oh okay, I’ll admit that it might be lifelong work.

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  1. We consciously ‘gave up’ the news during the brexsh*t debacle when it appeared absolutely nothing else whatsoever existed. The CV19 blanket coverage just exaserbated it – both things happened – don’t get me wrong, however – there is life out there too. So we turned inward and dealt with the small things in life gently and kindly and one step at a time, only dipping into the news if there is something we really think worth paying attention to – as you say – watching the bigwigs doing what they do and having no say or influence in how you feel about things can feel very overwhelming.

    • Thank you for this thoughtful comment. I’m wondering just how influential the small stuff can be. I’m getting quite excited about it! Just be over to your blog by the way. Treacle and ginger cake sounds the biz!

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