Mental Health Experts Explain The Circle Of Influence & Control

The Circle of Influence concept was coined by Stephen Covey in his popular 1989 book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

According to Covey, there are two “circles” we can use to categorize our worries: the Circle of Concern (the things we care about), and the Circle of Influence (things we care about and can affect).

The Circle of Concern encompasses anything you might be worried about, including your health, family, finances, the government, the state of the world, etc. Some of these things you can influence, and some of these you cannot. Anything you can directly address falls under the Circle of Influence.

For example, you might be worried about what the government is going to do about the economy. This would fall under the Circle of Concern. It’s something that you’re worried about but can’t do much about.

On the flip side, if you’re worried about a big work project you have to get done, that would fall under the Circle of Influence. It’s something you are concerned about that you can directly address through action.

Of course, you shouldn’t ignore an issue just because it’s out of your control, but, Covey argues, you can alleviate some anxiety by focusing your energy on what falls directly inside your Circle of Influence.

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