Our interaction with the world that we live in is related to areas of our activity, where we have certain level of influence on the outcome of events. Sometimes we control situation, sometimes we can partially influence development of situation, but sometimes we are helpless. It is true that we cannot choose every situation that we come across. Life can be very unpredictable. But in any situation we should not totally loose a compass.
The most important element is to recognize what type of situation we are in. If we identify what is the type of situation, than we can act accordingly. Otherwise we can lose time and strength on helpless situation, or miss opportunity, because we didn’t react properly.
In general situations can be grouped in circles of influence, depending on the level of influence and control of events we have. Every situation should be treated differently.
I have Influence and Control
Situation of having control and influence is typical for our behavior, attitude or thoughts. Obviously, we have influence on the way we act, think and interact with other. This does not necessary mean that we control our self in every situation. Sometimes we are driven away from full self control, because of internal reasons, such as illness, depression or lack of sleep. But sometimes somebody can drive us mad, such as boss or policeman. But, in all situations we have high level of influence on ourselves. This influence should provide the control as well.
Self control is the discipline that can be learned. Meditation is a good way of establishing self awareness and ability to control. Small routines can help us as well, if we adhere to them strictly. For example, if somebody sends provocative business mail you probably feel that you should respond at the same manner. But saving mail as a draft and re-thinking tomorrow can help us to adjust the attitude from pure reactive to more appropriate and productive answer.
Self control is gradually built through conscious actions that gradually integrate to our subconscious mind. This does not come quickly, but it requires time.
I Have Influence, But Not Control
This is the area where we should spend more time, since it is the area of our daily interaction with others. We influence everybody through direct communication, but cannot influences always. Situation where we have influence but not control is typical to business environment, but also on every other situation related to decision making or opinion sharing.
Definitely we should pay more attention to this area of personal development. The situation of having influence but no control is very often. Situation usually makes influence on us, unless we make influence on situation. If we are always compliant at work, without any intention to show attitude or opinion, it is very hard that we will be promoted ever. Being not promoted is not the only problem, since we will also be irrelevant for anything. We may even be invisible. You can influence any situation to some extent. Therefore, do not just let things down the river, but stand up when you think you are right. Even if you have to bluff is better than to give up in advance.
Game of influencing is endless and you cannot win always, but it is important to recognize favorite situation and push your idea. It is better to be sorry for trying than to regret later for missed opportunity since you didn’t try. Failed attempt is new experience at least, while lack of attempt is leading to procrastination and mediocrity.
I Do Not Have Influence Neither Control
This area is definitely where most people spend too much time. We cannot change weather, but we complain about it. We cannot change the boss, but we always blame him/her. Economy is bad, therefore every effort is useless. The easiest way seems to be to do nothing but complain.
But, instead of grieving about something that we have no influence we should focus on something that we can do. If you missed your flight, do not blame slow taxi to airport, or air transport company. Instead focus on finding new flight. Do not complain about missed opportunities, but look for the new ones.
Sure that our influence over situations will vary depending on situation. Remember to focus on the areas where we can make influence to the others and achieve our goal. Circles of influence will help you in your self improvement.