How Do You Expand Your Circle Of Influence?

Do you want to expand the amount of influence you have, in general, within a particular role you fill, or dealing with a new-found interest?

You may want to advance in your job or career (e.g., putting yourself on a path to becoming a supervisor). Or, maybe there’s a cause you want to contribute to, but you want to go beyond giving money or volunteering now and then (e.g., you may want to serve on a non-profit’s board). On a more personal level, you may want to increase your sway within your family (e.g., because you see important familial decisions are on the horizon).

You need more than a desire to accomplish something to improve your circle of influence. It would help if you also went beyond setting a goal.

Expanding your capacity for influence requires a plan or a process focused on achieving your desired outcome. The late self-improvement author and public speaker Stephen R. Covey encouraged people to define the circle of their concerns and then, within that circle, honestly assess their circle of influence.

Most people (those who aren’t wealthy, well-connected, or possess a high amount of privilege) often have more concerns than they have a realistic ability to impact. That said, individuals also have more power, skills, or talents than they give themselves credit for.

Covey noted that people who put positive, proactive energy into things they can impact—within their circle of influence—not only get more things done, but they also likely can expand their circle of influence. (The reverse is true for those who are simply reactive to what the world throws at them.)

So, how can you expand your circle of influence? Do you have a plan or process for accomplishing your goal? Is the plan focused on things you can realistically impact?

Related questions: How have your parents influenced you? What impact do you think you have on other people? What are our responsibilities to others?

How Do You Deal With Major Life Changes?

As we go through life, there are bound to be major changes that happen to you. When they do, how do you deal with it?

When you look back on your life, chances are you remember most clearly the times when things changed. Graduation, getting married, a new job, and so on.

It is easy to see why these moments are memorable. Most likely, there are many new experiences involved, and when your brain is active forming new connections, memories are formed along with them. In addition, when things are changing, your future is uncertain, and that uncertainty can be scary (which is memorable).

These major life events can lead to all sorts of emotions, possibly at the same time: happiness, fear, loneliness, nervousness, relief, anticipation, and so on. Because of this, there are also numerous ways to react.

If you let your happiness dictate your response, you may react with more at ease. Fear, on the other hand, may lead you to reacting defensively or cautiously. Other emotions may lead to different reactions.

Can you think of patterns to how you react to big life changes, whether they are good or bad changes? Maybe you are consumed with glee or worry; perhaps you instead try to remain logical and as unemotional as possible. Or something else entirely.

How you deal with life’s big changes can say a lot about who you are. If so, what does it say about you?

Related questions: What was your last big change? What makes change possible? Can people change? How have you changed?

How Important Is Closure?

When coming to grips with a sudden change in life, some people feel the need for closure in order to move on. But is it really necessary?

Life can change very quickly, in ways both trivial and profound. You might lose a job, there might be a death in the family, or an appliance you depend on may stop functioning.

When a change like this happens, a natural instinct is to look for some closure. That might mean, respectively, an exit interview, a memorial service, or a repairperson’s visit. Once the closure happens, you can move on with your life.

However, closure is not something that occurs in our lives. We are born into a world that is already in motion, and as we grow and learn, we have to get up to speed on the state of things (and pick up some history as well).

Even when we meet someone new, we come in the middle of their story. And if they drift away, as friends sometimes do, there isn’t usually any sort of meaningful end point.

There is little doubt, though, that as a species we crave the sense of narrative completion. We look for it in the movies we watch, the books we read, and in other media we consume. A disappointing finale can ruin an entire TV series.

So which is it? Is a sense of closure necessary to process the events of the day? Or is it irrelevant, just an artificial narrative we construct that has no inherent meaning?

How important is closure?

Related questions: Why are people afraid of death? What can you control? Scripted or unscripted? How do you find peace when you need it?

What Is Luck?

We are all familiar with the concept of luck. It is a fairly simple idea. However, can you actually come up with a definition?

The most basic definition for what luck is would seem to be: “something good happens to you.”

Maybe that is sufficient. In a particular scenario, something can happen. If that something is good, it is good luck; if that something is bad, it is bad luck.

This way of thinking introduces the modifiers “good” and “bad”. Okay then: what are they modifying?

If we accept this idea of good luck is “something good happens”, it would seem the thing being modified is “something happens”. Does that make sense? But then, the one thing that we can be certain of is that something will happen. Things are constantly changing. Things have to happen in order for there to be change. Is everything around us constantly in a state of luck, sometimes good and sometimes bad?

However, sometimes it is the lucky outcome that something *doesn’t* happen. For example, if you fall out of tree (bad luck), you might think it lucky if you didn’t break a bone (good luck).

So now luck is “something does or doesn’t happen”? That seems pretty vague.

The concept of luck also would seem to contain some notion of likelihood. If something is overwhelmingly likely and indeed comes to pass, that would seem to be less lucky than something that is unlikely to happen. Finding a penny is lucky; finding a hundred dollars is less likely, and therefore luckier.

Can you think of an explanation for how you think of the concept of luck?

Related questions: How has luck shaped your life? Is thirteen an unlucky number? What makes change possible? What is the best sporting event you have seen in person?