This is an excellent tool to become more self-aware of how proactive we are. When we have a self-awareness of how we are spending our time and energy, we can then turn that awareness into being able to make choices that are proactive. Proactive people focus their efforts in the circle of influence and work on things they can do something about. Their energy is positive and powerful, causing their circle of influence to increase.
Reactive people, on the other hand, focus their time and energy on what they can’t influence. They focus on problems and circumstances over which they have no control. The negative energy generated by that focus, along with neglecting areas they can do something about, causes their circle of influence to get smaller and smaller.
Write down all the things that are currently on your mind.
Write down everything that is concerning you, whether it relates to the past, present, or future.
Now draw a circle on a blank piece of paper, with another circle around the outside of it.
In the center circle, write “circle of control,” and on the outer circle, write “circle of influence.” Then on the outside of both circles (on the remaining border), write “no control.”
Now plot everything from your first list (step 1) into the three areas above.
The circle of control (direct control) will be problems involving your own behaviour (your attitude, etc.).
The circle of influence (indirect control) will be problems involving other people's behavior (their attitude, etc.).
No control will be issues you have absolutely no control over (the past, or the realities of situations, like the weather, rules, regulations, etc.).
Now look at your page and where you are spending most of your time and energy.
Circle of control (direct control) problems are solved by working actively on your habits (habits 1, 2, and 3 of this book—habits of independence, relationship with self will help you).
Circle of influence (indirect control) problems are solved by changing your method of influence (habits 4, 5, and 6—habits of interdependence, relationship with others will help you).
For the area of no control, question why you are spending any time here at all. It is a waste of your time, and not only that, but the more time you spend here, the less time you have to work on your circles of control and influence, and the more time you spend there, the greater and more powerful those circles become.
If you decide that something in your circle of influence is in fact beyond your influence:
Move it to the outer border and drop it, learn to live with it with a smile, with grace—what is the point in anything else?
Use the following mantra/prayer/quote to help you:
Lord, please give me the courage change the things I can,
The serenity to accept the things I can’t,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Do all of the above daily for the next 20 days.
This will become one of the most powerful habits you could ever have. To consciously choose how you spend your time and energy will be the single biggest thing you can do to have the most dramatic impact on your life.