“One way to determine which circle our concern is in is to distinguish between the HAVE’S and the BE’S. The Circle of Concern is filled with the HAVE’S:
‘I’ll be happy when I have my house paid off.’
‘If only I had a boss who wasn’t such a dictator…..’
‘If I had more obedient kids….’
‘If I could just have more time to myself….’
The Circle of Influence is filled with the BE’S—I can be more patient, be wise, be loving. It’s the character focus.
Anytime we think the problem is ‘out there’, that thought is the problem. We empower what’s out there to control us. The change paradigm is ‘outside-in’—what’s out there has to change before we can change.
The Proactive approach is to change from the inside-out; to be different, and by being different, to effect positive change in what’s out there—I can be more resourceful, I can be more diligent, I can be more creative, I can be more cooperative.
I know this idea is a dramatic paradigm shift for many people. It is so much easier to blame other people, conditioning, or conditions for our own stagnant situation. But we are responsible—‘response-ability’—to control lives and to powerfully influence our circumstances by working on BE, on what we are.
If I really want to improve my situation, I can work on the one thing over which I have control—myself.
There are so many ways to work in the Circle of Influence—to be a better listener, to be a better student, to be a more cooperative and dedicated employee. Sometimes the most proactive thing we can do is to be happy, just to genuinely smile! Happiness, like unhappiness, is a proactive choice. There are things, like the weather, that our Circle of Influence will never include. But as proactive people, we can carry our own physical or social weather with us. We can be happy and accept those things that at present we can’t control, while we focus our efforts on the things that we can.
The idea that life is supposed to be easy, when it’s not, creates the Reactive approach to life’s problems. Instead of becoming ‘BE’s’, there are some who become ‘HAVE’S’, and play the blame game. Unfortunately some family acquaintances, not ones I would choose, believe they can’t be happy unless they are criticizing, well, almost everything in their lives. Unfortunately they haven’t figured out Covey’s RESPONSE-ABILITY, or maybe they have, and don’t want to. Could be there is joy in sharing misery.
One thing about life that’s true; it is a mystery, and some fail to realize that, and/or do not appreciate that it is.
Habit 1 Be Proactive
Principles Of Personal Vision
The Other End Of The Stick