Influence and learning hard things

A quick search on the blog tells me I first wrote about the “Circle of Influence” in July 2009. I’ve written about it multiple other times since.

I was thinking about a couple of good and not-so-good days recently as I wondered what went wrong. And, the trend was obvious. The less time I spent thinking or talking about stuff I didn’t influence, the higher the probability it was a good day.

That’s not to say we should spend no time talking about things we don’t influence. It is important to think about the future and plan for the long term. In doing that, we automatically think about things we don’t control. However, like salt, it is best to add that to our thought process in pinches.

So, why is it that I am still writing about focusing on the circle of influence despite having first written about it eight years back? That gets to the crux of what I’ve learned when I reflect and write every day. The really hard things are hard to do. And, to learn and not to do is not to learn.

That means repetition and conscious re-commitment to learning the hard things is key to giving ourselves a shot at actually learning them. Focusing consistently on our circle of influence requires time, energy and commitment.

On the bright side, if there’s one thing that’s certain, the difficulty of learning a life skill is directly proportional to its value.

3 thoughts on “Influence and learning hard things”

  1. I find this to be true with some things — namely politics & news. But, those tend to be overwhelmingly negative portrayals of the greater world that I don’t influence.

    I find that the opposite can be true if I learn about things that I don’t influence that shed light on the tiny-ness of my own humanity. It sounds trite, but things like the Universe, Homo Erectus, etc.

    I also find that considering things I can’t influence under the idea of “how does this landscape affect what I CAN influence” helps me to study it rather than consume it.

    Actually — that’s what I think it comes down to: do I CONSUME things that I don’t influence, making me feel overwhelmed and generally negative… or do I STUDY things that are larger than myself (that I also don’t influence), making me feel small, a part of something bigger or like I understand my own chess board better.

    Thanks for writing everyday.

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