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?

What Makes For A Satisfied Mind?

To live well, some philosophies say, you should try to cultivate a satisfied mind. What does that mean, and how might you accomplish it?

There are many reasons why you mind might not be satisfied.

On a personal level, you might want more: more money, more status, more stuff. Ambition can be a good motivator, but it doesn’t produce satisfaction.

You might also look at the world and want more justice. You might see the flaws in our society, or empathize with plight of others that are suffering. That might lead you to attempt to seek positive change. That’s a good thing — but “satisfied” is not the word you would use to describe that.

There are also a host of issues to be worried about, from civil unrest, to artificial intelligence, to climate change, to income inequality, and on and on. Yet another reason why you might not have a satisfied mind.

So what can you do? How might you quell your fears, curb your wants and desires? To calm your thoughts, and bring about a state of being that is less anxiety ridden, and therefore more healthy? And lastly, is there a concern that cultivating a satisfied mind might dissociate you from others?

Related questions: What do you think about when your mind is not preoccupied? How do you find peace when you need it? What do you do to clear your mind? Are we too busy?

How Do You Reward Yourself?

One of the best ways to motivate yourself is to give yourself a reward. What kind of reward works best for you?

Positive reinforcement is a good way to train your body and mind. When you exhibit a behavior you like, giving yourself a reward sends a positive message. In theory, you will come to associate good behavior with getting a reward.

That might sound a bit clinical, but the truth is we use these positive reinforcements every day. If, for instance, you have a cup of coffee each morning, you probably come to think of morning and coffee going together.

Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss a related question: ‘How do you define success?’ We also discuss bonus question, ‘Is happiness the most important purpose of life?’

However, finding the right reinforcement to use in any given situation can be tricky. One bad example is to reward an exercise session with a dessert. That might make you look forward to working out so that you can get a sweet treat, but the reward might well be more calories than you burned working out. If the goal is to lose weight, it might well be counter-productive.

What sorts of rewards work best for you? Are their specific ones you use in certain circumstances? Are there “bad” examples you have adopted in the past?

Related questions: What motivates you? How do other people motivate you? Reward or punishment? How do you stick to your resolutions?


Internal Or External?

When it comes to your life, does it tend to be more internal or external? Feel free to interpret that however you like.

Share why if you wish.

Internal Or External?