Through the years, I’ve studied and stared at this quote famous quote by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892 – 1971). Hidden within this prayer lies an important secret. The secret… That we can control our destiny by focusing on our circle of influence.
In life, it is so easy to focus on our circle of concern –things that we cannot control. For example, it’s easy to blame all our problems on events and situations outside our control; our business or job problems on the economy, our financial problems on the weak financial market, and our relationship problems on our spouse.
By focusing on this circle of concern, we give away our power and joy. It is impossible to handle and grow from the situations of our lives because our circle of concern is where all our excuses reside.
Proactive people, the other hand, keep their thoughts and actions within their circle of influence or the things they can control. Instead of blaming the economy for a lack of customers in our business, a proactive person will fine tune their business to better service the customers, develop stronger relationships, and increase their marketing to find new customers. In a relationship, instead of blaming their spouse for a failing relationship, they take responsibility and find ways to improve the relationship.
The interesting thing about working on your circle influence over your circle of concern is that over time your circle of influence actually grows. The greatest people in history, for example, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Gandhi, Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King, all focused on a cause until it expanded their circle of influence creating tipping point in history.
Eight Ways to Expand Your Circle of Influence…
- Don’t ask why, ask how – ask yourself the right questions in order to expand your circle of influence. How can I turn this situation around? How can I improve my relationships? How can I help and inspire the people around me?
- Believe, Achieve, Succeed - Believe in yourself even in the face of naysayers. In order to expand your circle the influence, you’ll have to be bulletproof to criticism. Most criticism is intended to hold you back - to maintain status quo. Don’t let negative criticism influence you. Instead hold your vision strong and concentrate on the desired end result.
- Turn off the news - Put yourself on a news diet because most news is intended to create and stimulate fears in order to increase ratings. The daily news focuses our attention on our circle of concern or those things that are outside our control.
- Increase your value through education – Read and educate yourself on the areas that you want to expand. If you are experiencing financial problems, read books on financial prosperity or watch Dave Ramsey. If you want to improve your job situation, read books on your area or take classes. If you want to improve your business, get a mentor or visit a successful business owner.
- Fine tune your skills – In Karate, we practice a basic punch thousands of times so that in a self defense situation, it becomes almost an automatic response. In our lives, repetition is the mother of skill. Constantly work on mastering skills. For example, your marriage is something that we must constantly work on. Like a bank account, we must make positive daily deposits for a rich relationship.
- Turn problems into opportunities – My mother would always say “If you keep faith, things always turn out for the better.” In other words, many times problems are blessing in disguise with hidden opportunities. I talked to a student’s parent recently that was laid off from a job only to find that it made them shift into a field that was better suited for their skills and talents. They were happier now and the job paid better too. Their problem turned into supernatural opportunity.
- Volunteer to help – Volunteering is a great way to provide a valuable service to other people. But it is also a great way to network with like minded individuals that is ripe with opportunities. An adult student of ours that works as a computer programmer volunteered his web designing skills to create websites for some non-profit organizations. His involvement opened the doors of opportunity and he was offered a new better paying job that was closer to home. Not only did he increase his lifestyle, but now he gets to spend more time with his family. All of this in a “bad” economy!
- Be upbeat and enthusiastic – Upbeat and enthusiastic people attract people and situations that expand their influence. It’s natural to want to be around someone with a magnetic personality. By becoming magnetic, you will attract the opportunities like a compass pointing north.