Circles


You wake up and check Twitter or Facebook and someone has said something really stupid.

You can't believe how stupid it is.

There's no way you can let this person - this person who you don't know but is somehow connected as your friend or someone you're committed to following or someone how is being retweeted or linked to by someone you follow - there's no way you can let them continue believing this thing.

So you correct them.

Then, of course, you have engaged with them so you waste a good deal of time arguing with someone who didn't ask your opinion in the first place - even if your opinion was really a fact.

This isn't just about winning the internet - you know you can't do that - this is about time and energy you've put into something or someone you shouldn't.

Jaimee said this wonderfully on the Tiny Challenges show Season 1 Episode 2. She has classifications of people and has decided that some people aren't entitled to her time or energy.

That sounds meaner when I write it than when she said it.

You know when you're not going to change someone's mind. You know when someone just won't be happy or be helped no matter what you do.

There's a big part of me that still wants to try.

When I was in graduate school, Covey's 7 Habits had just come out. I was spinning my wheels and not finishing. I would find all sorts of things to waste my time on.

Covey had this simple picture and description that advised us to identify the things we are concerned about and the things we can change. Represent them as two circles. I look at them as two intersecting circles with three regions. There's the stuff I'm concerned about but can't influence, there's the stuff I can influence but am not concerned about, and there's the stuff that I'm concerned about and can influence.

If I remember Covey's point, we make ourselves miserable when we spend our time concerned about things we can't influence. We need to shrink that region as much as possible.

I'm running out of time finding my third word for this year. I'm getting closer and this notion of circles of influence and concern may help me find my way.