We all have a multitude of responsibilities. That never-ending stress and worry list. Some have taken worry to an art form; worrying about things not even remotely within their control or even within their influence. Steven Covey talks about the Circle of Concern and Circle of Influence in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Identifying what lies within these two circles is, for each of us, critical to a life we are free to enjoy.
The Circle of Concern is home to things like the crime rate, national debt, war, global warming, and bad weather. You spend hours listening to CNN, surfing the internet, reading the paper, fretting about the demise of humanity as you know it…or impending severe weather. Terrorism and snow. I know, it’s keeping you up at night. I’m not suggesting that you totally ignore the current state of affairs…or the weather guy. What I’m saying is, in the end, most of it is out of your control. So, pay your taxes, lock your doors, get some extra milk and if it suits you, say a prayer. Once you’ve done that, LET-IT-GO! Worry and preoccupation with what could happen will not change one single thing.
The Circle of Influence is a little different. It holds what is near and dear to us—family, friends, home, health, pets, career. These areas demand more time, thought, and energy. Note that I said energy, not worry. How do you most lovingly tend to these important areas of life? By loving, learning, teaching, helping, nurturing and taking action, when appropriate. Use discretion. The circle of influence can be a “pick your battles” sort of place. Trying to exert too much influence can backfire. And once again after doing your best, take a breath, call it good, and set yourself free to enjoy life!
“Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles; it takes away today’s peace.” Randy Armstrong