Ever felt overwhelmed by things you can’t control? This is a common issue many of us face, often leading to stress and frustration. Our blog post offers guidance on how to focus on what truly lies within your power using the concept of the Circle of Control.
Ready for a life-changing strategy? Let’s delve into it!
- The Circle of Control is a concept that helps individuals focus on what they can control in their lives and let go of things outside their influence.
- Focusing on the Circle of Control promotes a proactive mindset, improves mental health, and increases flexibility in life.
- To apply the Circle of Control, identify concerns within your Circle of Concern, move them to the Circle of Influence, and prioritize and take action on the things within your Circle of Control.
- Expanding your Circle of Control involves developing resilience and acceptance to manage situations beyond your immediate control. Techniques for expanding include identifying what is within your control, focusing on the present moment, setting achievable goals, practicing self-care, surrounding yourself with positive influences, managing time effectively, communicating assertively.
Understanding the Circles of Influence, Concern, and Control
The theory of the Circles of Influence, Concern, and Control, introduced by Stephen Covey in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” provides a framework for understanding how to take charge of one’s life.
It consists of three circles: the Circle of Concern, the Circle of Influence, and the Circle of Control.
Explanation of the theory (model and diagram)
The Circle of Control theory uses a simple picture. It shows three circles inside each other, like a target. The smallest circle in the middle is the Circle of Control. Here you find things that you can change by yourself.
Around it, there’s a bigger circle called the Circle of Influence. Things here are not fully under your control, but you can still make an impact on them with your actions or words.
Finally, the biggest circle around all others is the Circle of Concern. This includes stuff that worries or bothers you, but over which you have no direct power to change.
Circle of Concern
The Circle of Concern covers all things that worry us. It is a large area filled with stuff like health, money, or family issues. Some events do affect us but sit outside our control.
The pandemic is one such big worry in this circle.
In the Circle of Concern, we find matters we can’t change or influence much. These worries may bog us down if we let them. It’s key to note what lies inside this circle as it helps guide where to put time and energy next.
Circle of Influence
Your life has parts you directly control. This is your circle of influence. Here, you make choices that change things around you. Stephen Covey calls it the “smaller circle“. You may learn new skills or get more knowledge to grow this circle.
Each thing you do here goes out and impacts other areas too. With time, taking charge of yourself makes your own circles bigger.
Circle of Control
The circle of control helps you see what parts of your life you can change. It is like a picture that shows things we can deal with ourselves. This inner circle includes our own thoughts, how we act and how we react to others.
When bad events happen, such as a pandemic, these are not in our circle. But, we still have the power to make good changes within this circle every day. This idea tells us to use that power well for our benefit.
Why Focusing on the Circle of Control is Important
Focusing on the Circle of Control is crucial for taking charge of your life. It promotes a proactive mindset, improves mental health, and increases flexibility. To learn more about the importance of this concept and how to apply it in your life, keep reading!
Promotes a proactive mindset
Being proactive is about owning what happens in your life. Using the circle of control can help make you more active and less reactive. It’s where you focus your time and energy on things within your power to change.
Living this way helps grow a mindset that sees problems as chances to learn.
Stephen Covey said that proactive people use their circle of influence a lot. They do stuff that makes it bigger than their circle of concern. This means they take charge instead of waiting for things to happen or blaming others when they don’t go right.
Improves mental health
Using the circle of control can make your mind stronger. It can take away stress and worry. This is because you stop thinking about things you cannot change. You think only about what is in your power to change.
You will feel more calm and happy when you do this. Your fears do not control you anymore, instead, you are in charge. This makes your life easier and better each day.
Increases flexibility in life
Focusing on the circle of control boosts your life’s flexibility. It lets you adapt fast to new situations. You learn to make quick changes in your plans and actions based on what is within your power.
This skill is key when facing life’s unexpected turns. By not wasting time on things beyond our control, we become better at moving with change. We can turn problems into chances for growth.
This way, we feel more in control of our lives even during tough times.
How to Apply the Circle of Control in Your Life
To apply the Circle of Control in your life, start by identifying concerns in the Circle of Concern and then moving them to the Circle of Influence. Finally, prioritize and take action on the things within your control in the Circle of Control.
Identifying concerns in the Circle of Concern
To apply the Circle of Control in your life, you first need to identify the concerns that fall within the Circle of Concern. These are the things that you care about and may be causing you stress or worry. Here are some examples:
- Health: Your physical well-being and any health-related issues you may have.
- Finances: Your financial situation, including income, savings, debts, and expenses.
- Relationships: Concerns about your relationships with family, friends, or romantic partners.
- Work: Issues related to your job or career, such as workload, deadlines, or conflicts with colleagues.
- Personal growth: Goals and aspirations for self-improvement and personal development.
- Environment: Concerns about the state of the world around you, such as climate change or pollution.
Moving concerns to the Circle of Influence
To take charge of your life, it’s important to move concerns from the Circle of Concern to the Circle of Influence. This helps you feel more empowered and in control. Here’s how:
- Identify concerns that are within your circle of concern.
- Evaluate whether these concerns can be influenced or changed.
- Prioritize the concerns that you have some control over.
- Take action on these concerns by using your influence and making positive changes.
- Let go of worries and concerns that are outside of your control.
- Focus your time and energy on the things that you can actively control.
- Develop a proactive mindset and take responsibility for your own actions.
Prioritizing and taking action in the Circle of Control
To effectively prioritize and take action within the Circle of Control, follow these steps:
- Identify your concerns within the Circle of Concern.
- Evaluate which concerns can be influenced or have an impact, and move them to the Circle of Influence.
- Prioritize the concerns within your Circle of Control based on their importance and urgency.
- Take decisive action on the concerns you have identified as being within your control.
- Focus on making positive changes in areas where you have direct control, such as your thoughts, behaviors, and reactions.
- Regularly assess your progress and adjust your actions accordingly.
- The Circle of Control represents those things that are within an individual’s control, such as their thoughts, behaviors, and reactions.
- Focusing on the Circle of Control allows individuals to set clear goals and take action to achieve them, rather than getting caught up in things outside of their control.
- People who prioritize the Circle of Control in their lives are more confident and have a positive outlook on life.
Expanding Your Circle of Control
To expand your circle of control, focus on developing resilience and acceptance in order to adapt to and manage situations that may be beyond your immediate control. Embracing these qualities will allow you to feel more empowered and capable of navigating life’s challenges effectively.
Techniques for expanding the Circle of Control
To expand your Circle of Control and feel more in control of your life, you can try these techniques:
- Identify what is within your control: Take a look at the things that are directly under your control, such as your actions, choices, and attitudes.
- Focus on the present moment: Instead of worrying about the future or dwelling on the past, focus on what you can do right now to make a positive change.
- Set achievable goals: Break down larger goals into smaller, manageable steps that you can take action on.
- Cultivate a growth mindset: Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth and learning, rather than obstacles.
- Practice self-care: Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally to enhance your overall well-being and resilience.
- Surround yourself with positive influences: Spend time with people who support and uplift you, and limit exposure to negativity or toxic relationships.
- Manage your time effectively: Prioritize tasks that are within your control and eliminate or delegate those that aren’t necessary or don’t align with your goals.
- Communicate assertively: Express your thoughts, needs, and boundaries clearly and respectfully to avoid unnecessary conflicts or frustrations.
The role of resilience and acceptance
Resilience and acceptance play a crucial role in expanding our Circle of Control. Resilience is about bouncing back from setbacks and challenges, which allows us to overcome obstacles and face adversity with strength.
By developing resilience, we can adapt to change more easily and take control of our lives. Acceptance, on the other hand, involves recognizing what we cannot change and letting go of things beyond our control.
It allows us to focus our energy on the things that matter most and make positive changes within our Circle of Control. Together, resilience and acceptance empower us to navigate life’s ups and downs with a sense of purpose and determination.
Real-Life Examples of Applying the Circle of Control
Applying the Circle of Control to personal relationships, work and career, and daily stressors allows individuals to take charge of their lives by focusing on what they can control rather than fixating on things outside their influence.
Applying the Circle of Control in personal relationships can be incredibly beneficial. By focusing on what we can control and letting go of what we cannot, we can reduce stress and improve our overall well-being.
The Circle of Control can help us establish boundaries, manage expectations, and enhance communication with our loved ones. Instead of worrying about things beyond our control, we can prioritize our efforts within the circle and actively work towards building healthier and more fulfilling relationships.
This shift in mindset allows us to feel more empowered and develop a better sense of purpose in our interactions with others.
Work and Career
The Circle of Control can be incredibly helpful when it comes to work and career. It reminds us that we have the power to make changes and take charge of our professional lives. By focusing on what we can control, such as managing our workload or setting goals, we regain a sense of control and feel more empowered.
This positive and proactive approach can also expand our Circle of Influence, allowing us to have a greater impact in the workplace. Applying the Circle of Control can lead to increased success and satisfaction in our work and career, helping us achieve our goals with less stress and anxiety.
Daily stressors are the things that can make us feel overwhelmed and out of control in our lives. They can include things like work deadlines, traffic jams, or arguments with loved ones.
The Circle of Control can help us manage these stressors by focusing on what we can actually control. By identifying the specific concerns within our Circle of Concern and then moving them to our Circle of Influence, we can prioritize and take action on the things that are within our power to change.
This not only helps us feel more empowered but also reduces stress and anxiety as we stop worrying about things that are outside of our control.
Tools and Exercises for Practicing the Circle of Control
Discover practical tools and engaging exercises that will help you master the circle of control in your life, empowering you to take charge and create positive changes. Read more to unleash your inner potential!
Activities for Adults
Engaging in activities that focus on your Circle of Control can help you feel more empowered and in control of your life. Here are some activities for adults to practice:
- Create a personal goals list: Write down your short-term and long-term goals, focusing on the things you can directly control. This will help you prioritize and take action towards achieving them.
- Practice gratitude: Take a few moments each day to write down three things you are grateful for. This exercise helps shift your focus to the positive aspects of your life that you have control over.
- Develop a self-care routine: Identify activities that bring you joy and make time for them regularly, such as exercising, reading, or spending time with loved ones. Self-care helps you recharge and maintain a positive mindset.
- Challenge negative thoughts: When negative thoughts arise, question their validity and look for evidence that contradicts them. Reframe negative thoughts into positive or neutral ones to regain control over your thinking patterns.
- Practice assertiveness: Assertiveness involves expressing your needs and boundaries in a respectful way. Practice asserting yourself in different situations to enhance communication skills and foster healthy relationships.
- Learn stress management techniques: Explore various stress-management techniques like deep breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation, or yoga to help reduce anxiety and improve overall well-being.
Worksheets for Therapists
Therapists can utilize various worksheets to assist their patients in managing anxiety, anger, and stress. These worksheets are designed to help individuals recognize and manage their circle of control in order to take charge of their lives. Some specific exercises include:
- The Circle of Control Worksheet: This worksheet focuses on helping individuals identify factors that are within their control and those that are not. It aids in understanding the concept of the circle of control and provides examples for better mental health.
- The Circle of Influence Worksheet: Designed for those dealing with anxiety, excessive worry, and stress, this exercise helps individuals explore factors within their circle of influence. It encourages them to focus on areas where they may have some influence or impact.
- “What Can I Control?” Exercise: This exercise assists individuals in challenging situations by identifying what they can control versus what they cannot control. It promotes a realistic approach towards managing stress and anxiety.
In conclusion, mastering the Circle of Control is a powerful tool for taking charge of your life. By focusing on the things within your control and letting go of what you can’t change, you can become more proactive, improve your mental health, and achieve your goals with greater efficiency.
Remember that you have the power to make positive changes and create the life you desire. Take control and start living your best life today!
1. What is the circle of control?
The circle of control is an idea from Stephen Covey’s book, “the 7 habits of highly effective people”. It suggests we should focus on things within our power to control.
2. How does the circle of control work?
It has three parts: innermost circle, middle circle and outer circle. The innermost is what you can fully control; the middle are things you might influence; and the outer one includes stuff you can’t handle.
3. Why should I use the Circle Of Control template?
The template helps to focus time and energy on areas where effort will matter most in achieving goals.
4. How does using this model reduce stress and anxiety?
By trying not to direct efforts in parts outside our sphere of influence or beyond reach, feelings like being out-of-control shrink away thereby lessening stress levels.
5. Can understanding my Circle Of Influence help change behavior?
Absolutely! Knowing your scope lets you decide better how much weight each aspect carries in life decisions hence promoting a healthy attitude with reduced reactive thinking.
6.What happens if I shift my concentration towards points that are out of my command?
Focusing too heavily on external issues that lie outside your power may trigger more anxious thoughts leaving you feeling helpless and stressed out as these aspects often remain unchanged despite your concerns about them
MindOwl Founder – My own struggles in life have led me to this path of understanding the human condition. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy before completing a master’s degree in psychology at Regent’s University London. I then completed a postgraduate diploma in philosophical counselling before being trained in ACT (Acceptance and commitment therapy).
I’ve spent the last eight years studying the encounter of meditative practices with modern psychology.