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Circles of control and influence: “No Failures Tool”


Did you hear about the circles of control?

The circles of control and influence are an extremely powerful tool. It brings an excellent alternative for people who became victims of stress, anxiety, or coworkers (who like to call everyone a moron). Let’s get acquainted with this tool!

What are Stephen Covey’s “Circles of Control?” 

There are several aspects of life where you have no authority. Many people understand it, but only a few know what exactly they can and can’t control. This makes their life more productive and increases their happiness level. So once one of these successful guys decided to share knowledge. That is how the circle of control and influence was created. Voilà!

This is an illustration that will save your life!

Circles of control and influence

THIS image will help you understand the vast scope of this model that Stephen Covey formulated.

Do you see a blue circle in the illustration down below?

Circle of control

In this circle, you can find the stuff we can’t control. We call it “The Circle of Concern.”

a) The Circle of Concern

As you know, there’s a lot of things that are so hard to control. For example:

  • Global climate change;
  • Economic environment;
  • You cannot influence the fate of the Simpsons series (we can write a letter to ask for a better series or make a movie with real actors, but it’s hard to influence it.);
  • Price of a bear; 
  • Design of Facebook, which pisses you off. 

The actual examples, as shown above, will vary from person to person (for instance, Greta Thunberg tries to impact climate change, but she can’t stop Elon Musk from going to mars, where he will start to change the climate of mars). However, the essential thing to remember is that many of these issues are outside your control. It means there may be little or nothing you can do about them. So Investing your money and energy trying to change them would be a waste of time because hard-earned money, time, and effort cannot be recovered once spent.

Of course, there’s thinking you can make an impact.

You can change your girlfriend’s (or boyfriend’s) taste in music. But it will take time; we can put this goal in the circle of influence.

Do you see an orange circle?

b) The Circle of Influence

Circle of Influence

So in this circle, you have more power. To understand this power, I will offer a few examples.

Example 1:

If you are a car driver, you can control your steering, brakes, lights, and even a journey, but the same cannot be valid if some mishaps happen due to another passenger, passerby, or another driver. Similarly, you have only a few things in your life that only you can control. If something happens to you due to another person, you can ignore the situation because you have no control over the other person. 

Example 2: 

There is always a difference between the head of a nation and his citizens. The head is more likely to have a global impact, but you have no such influence over the world as a citizen. Silly, but this is very optimistic. In such a case, you have fewer things to worry about than the head or President of a country who has to control defence, economy, jobs, healthcare, commerce, trade, and many other things.

Hence, in this scenario, not only your influence shrinks but also your responsibilities and control. For a President or head of the state, their influence and control are much more significant to bring efficiency, but for you, only a few things need to be controlled for ultimate success.

And finally, we arrived to A circle of control which refers to only things you have the power to control. In this space, you can make easy moves and reach significant results.

c) The Circle of Control (TOTAL CONTROL! YEEEE MAN! I AM GOD)

Circle of Control

Bottom lineyour circles of control and influence take the least space among other circles. This is because; it’s this zone where only a few things are available to you, which can be controlled or regulated. 

Are you smoking? Maybe you are doing drugs? Are you angry and depressed? Or are you cheating on your wife? If yes, then it’s only you who can make these things right. They are in your control. Basically, it represents your actions and activities.

So now you know everything, and you can quit cigarettes… 

But wait…

Why is it so hard?

Maybe because you still think that smoking doesn’t depend on you? Do you still blame others for your own decisions?

Of course, you understand what I want to say.

But it’s hard to control life, right? So I suggest you spend more time on this article. Why? I have an answer:

Why is it so clever to work on “Circles of Control?” 

If you concentrate your efforts on the areas you can control, this will allow you to make more adjustments. Do it, and soon you will feel how the circle of control expands, exxxxxpands, EXXXXPANDS AND!!! HAPPINESS!

Potential of “Circles of Control” in individual and team

Potential of “Circles of Control”

Try to grasp the bigger picture from this image shown above. It explains the “circles of control and influence” are directly proportional to your efforts and energy. Figuring out how big your circle of influence is crucial to your efficiency that counts the real-time effort you put in.

In your job, life, and professional world, putting efforts along with a team is more efficient than doing it individually. As an individual, you may not perform adequately, but things will drastically change if you ask your team members or partners to bring more assets. In close-knitted families, the circles of control and influence constantly expand due to contributions from other parties. Hence, a band or group of employees can have a broader circle of influence than a single person.

In this context, Stephen Covey explains that “a reactive people’s circle of influence shrinks, whereas proactive people’s circle of influence expands.”

At the end of the day, if you find success in eliminating the hurdles by accepting and committing to things, then failures will not bother you.


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