Concern vs. Influence

Let's explore the idea behind the concentric circles.

Concentric circles

In Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he makes a distinction between proactive people, who focus on what they can do and influence, and reactive people, who focus their energy on things beyond their control. He visualizes it with two concentric circles:

  • Circle of concern
  • Circle of influence

Circle of concern

A larger circle of concern includes everything you care about, from personal concerns (health, relationships, etc.) to global concerns (climate, pandemic, etc.).

Circle of influence

A smaller circle of influence, includes the things we have the power to affect. Some authors also define the third zone of control, which separates direct control from indirect influence.

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