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Survival, with honor, that outmoded and all-important word, is as difficult as ever and as all-important to a writer. Those who do not last are always more beloved since no one has to see them in their long, dull, unrelenting, no-quarter-given-and-no-quarter-received, fights that they make to do something as they believe it should be done before they die. Those who die or quit early and easy and with every good reason are preferred because they are understandable and human. Failure and well-disguised cowardice are more human and more beloved.
-- Ernest Hemingway


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I have a hero complex. Always have. It comes from being the oldest child of five revolving kids in a multi-fathered alcoholic household.

Over the years, I've worked on projects and shone where the impossible was necessary and I was brought in to salvage something in a short period of time and usually worked alone and proceeded to do what no one thought could be done. It's a good talent to have, but it's not healthy because it's motivated by a need for speed, so to speak. Great chaos, but not sustainable.

In the relationships I've chosen, I've looked for opportunities for me to be the knight in shining armor. Chivalrous, but over-the-top. It's not my job to save the world. Ultimately, I'm really not responsible for others. Here's where one of my favorite maxims comes into play: Circle of Concern, Circle of Influence.

From Stephen Covey's Seven Habits:

In looking at ways to influence and change our surroundings it is helpful to notice where we focus our time and energy. We each have a wide range of concerns - our health, our family, problems at work, the national debt, etc., and it is these things in our lives that make up our Circle of Concern. As we look at those things within our Circle of Concern, it becomes apparent that there are some things over which we have no real control and others that we can do something about. We could identify those concerns in the latter group by circumscribing them in a smaller Circle of Influence. The problems all of us face fall in one of three areas: direct control (problems involving our own behavior); indirect control (problems involving other people's behavior); or no control (problems we can do nothing about, such as our past, or situational realities). A proactive approach is the first step to the solution of all three kinds of problems within our present Circle of Influence. Some people interpret proactive to mean pushy, aggressive, or insensitive, but that isn't the case at all. Proactive people are smart, they are value driven, they read reality, and they know what's needed. And they focus their efforts in the Circle of Influence. They work on the things they can do something about. The nature of their energy is positive, enlarging, and magnifying, causing their Circle of Influence to increase.
I'm finding that life lately is telling me in a big way that I'm spending too much time in my Circle of Concern and not enough time in my Circle of Influence. Which means that I'm wasting my time. Time in the Circle of Concern means that I fancy myself Superman. I'm not. Always a good lesson to re-learn.


by Brett Rogers, 7/9/2006 11:53:29 AM


I totally align with what you are saying here. It does wonders when you change your focus and attention to the specifics. Such as, I'm not going to let that co-worker get under my skin today- a baby step. Instead of focusing on the absence of something like, There is not going to be any Social Security for me in the future- what am I going to do? We're not superman and we can only change how we view our immediate interactions- circle of influence. Awesome thoughts...



Posted by Casey, 7/12/2006 4:49:32 PM

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