Stephen Covey (author of 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People) has an interesting suggestion for how we can be more proactive. It’s effectively a way of reducing your stress by acting on the things you are able to and leaving the rest to God.
They’re called the circles of concern and influence.
He suggests you make a circle of everything you are concerned about. What is is that takes up your emotional and cognitive energy? Family, work, health, politics, wars? Write them all down and put them in a circle. He calls this the Circle of Concern.
He then notes that as you look at your Circle of Concern, you will realise that there are some things that you can do nothing about; they are out of your control. There are however some things that you can influence. He recommends you put the latter group in a smaller circle within the Circle of Concern, and call it the Circle of Influence.
This is all relatively simple.
But he then goes on to say that if you focus primarily on the Circle of Concern (the things out of your control) then you basically freak yourself out, and you find yourself less able to get things done (bottom right). From personal experience I know this to be true.
On the other hand, if you focus primarily on the things in your Circle of Influence, and seek to act on them, you will overtime find that you accomplish more (bottom left).
As I said. Simple.
He concludes the chapter with a challenge: Be proactive for 30 days. That is, only focus on the things in your Circle of Influence.
I’ve accepted the challenge, but with a Christian spin. Rather than ignoring the things in the Circle of Concern, I’m going to pray about them.
Anyone want to join me?