I recently caught up with an old friend for a quick drink. A quick drink turned into a quick few more — then a quick few more, more! But who’s counting?
I digress — back to the story.
After a couple of drinks my friend started opening up about some personal stuff happening in his life. He was unhappy at work because he felt underpaid and overworked. And on top of that, things weren’t going too well in his marriage; in fact, they were rapidly going from bad to worser (his word, not mine).
After spending some time off-loading the things that were making him unhappy, with some strategically placed questions, I finally got him to start focusing on potential solutions to some of the perceived problems he was facing.
(That’s not to say his problems weren’t real – they were; at least from his perspective. But I’m a firm believer that what we focus on expands; and problems are only problems when we perceive them as such. Hence why Einstein said:
“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”)
As far as my friend was concerned, the solutions were simple; if his wife was less argumentative, his boss wasn’t such a jerk and his company paid him more, everything would be fine; and he’d be much happier.
Listening to him talk, reminded me of the opening chapter of Steven Covey’s international best seller ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ where Steven draws the reader’s attention to two concepts he calls the ‘Circle of Concern’ and the ‘Circle of Influence’.
According to Steven, when operating from the Circle of Concern, we tend to think and speak in terms of achieving an end goal as a direct result of something else (usually outside our control) happening first. For example: Read more