How To Accelerate Your Personal Growth By Choosing What You Control

Do you know the difference between what you can control and what you can’t? Because if you don’t the stuff you can’t control will end up controlling you!

In Stephen R Covey’s book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” he explains the difference between your “Circle of Influence” – the things that you CAN control and your “Circle of Concern” the things that affect you but you CAN’T control.

In truth, as I’ve talked about in one of my previous articles “Are You In Control of Your Life” the only thing that you can truly control is yourself, your mind, control your choice of response to external inputs, and what you choose to do to persuade others to accept your point of view. This is your “Circle of Influence”.


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Your path to personal growth is to gradually expand your “Circle of Influence” by working on your yourself.

Your “Circle of Concern” is all those other things that affect you that you have no DIRECT control over… Like the reactions of other people to your actions, the weather, changes in the stock market, the laws and social systems you live by…


The trap for all of us, is that it is so easy to blame other people, blame the government, blame the weather, blame the irritating habits of co-workers when something that we don’t like happens to us.

Of course, to a greater or lesser extent outside forces will have an effect on our results. If you are just a small cog in the wheel of a large company that goes broke, you will likely end up out of work!

However, we can choose how we respond to such circumstances.

Take for example the story of Sarah who had spent many years of her life trapped in a terrible marriage. Finally she summoned up the courage to break free, left her husband and got a job in the local power company. Almost as soon as she got the job, the company ran into difficulty and she was told she would be laid off.


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Now, Sarah could have chosen to blame her ex-husband, the company, society and countless other things. She could easily have become an obvious victim of the trap of letting her “Circle of Concern” control her life.

Instead she found the courage within herself to look inside and ask how she could make the most of her circumstances. Sarah found she could help her colleagues suffering the same fate. She turned the loss of her job around and started offering advice on job hunting (something that she had recent experience of after all!) to all her co-workers about to be laid off, many of who had been employed by the company for years.

The story gets even better…

Sarah quickly grew a reputation as someone who had a proactive and positive attitude and rather than lay her off, her employers re-deployed her to a position where she could help improve the morale of employees everywhere in the company.

…Now that was snatching victory from the jaws of defeat by expanding your circle of influence!

I hope you can see that being clear on what you can control and then focussing on controlling it will help you to get back in charge of your life.


Work on improving your responses to your surroundings. Stop thinking the problem is out there. Take time to stop and think how you might handle a situation that you find difficult proactively. Take just one step at a time – don’t worry about the size of the steps you are taking, just make a commitment to yourself to make a change… and stick to it.

Do this consistently for 30 days and then look back at how far you’ve come … I expect you will be pleasantly surprised at the result!

Thank you for taking the time to read our article.

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