Bear with me – the first words may be moot for most readers but stick with it.
In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey introduced the concept of the Circle of Concern – which contains that about which we have an interest, but no real influence (for many , a good example is politics)– and the Circle of Influence, which is inside the Circle of Concern but contains those things over which we do have some control (like our jobs and family, and our attitude).
Explaining them, he also wrote, “Because of position, wealth, role or relationships, there are some circumstances in which a person’s Circle of Influence is larger than his Circle of Concern. This situation reflects a self-inflicted emotional myopia – another reactive selfish life-style focused in the Circle of Concern. Though they have to prioritise the use of their influence, proactive people have a Circle of Concern that is at least as big as their Circle of Influence, accepting the responsibility to use their influence effectively.”
For me, this observation sums up what I think of people in the media whose roles do not include politics (as a pertinent example) but like to insist on sticking their oars in, abusing their talent and position to try and convince people of ‘their’ side of things.
(Gary Lineker, if you’re reading this, you’re the British one.)
Now, in their defence, as the things they write/speak/yell about are firmly in their personal Circles of Concern, I have no issues with them having an opinion. I have one, too. Everyone has an opinion and an a****ole, and many are full of (insert your own epithet here).
But until Boris Johnson and the Leave campaign try to dictate to Gareth Southgate whether England should use the 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 approach in the next World Cup, I’d prefer to hear what the people in power are doing, saying and thinking without a football pundit’s interference. Even if he is a thoroughly nice bloke.
I – and other people seeking information upon which to base choices – do not need the interested but ideologically biased and routinely uninformed opinion of a sports/music/screen personality or comedian’s thoughts on the matter. They are the ones abusing their Circles of Influence, as described by Covey.
(And why ARE 98% of them left-wing? It’s statistically weird, unless people are too frightened to argue the righter side of the divide. Discuss Virtue Signalling. And Orwell.)
How do you tell whether someone of that type is abusing their Circle of Influence badly? Easy.
As soon as they are criticised by people for expressing their un-informed or ill-informed opinion, they attack using vulgarity, insults and threats. It’s clear that you are not allowed to disagree with their pontificating, you ignorant oik.
Which raises another question I have.
In the 1980s, alternative comedians quite rightly decided that racially-based humour was not cool. Insulting whole races, genders and mothers-in-law was no longer acceptable.
Fair dinkum. It makes us cringe when we watch old comedy, now.
But why did it then become okay to call identified people effing pricks just because they politically differed from you? See Selfish Myopia, above. (Russell Howard, that’s you.)
In conclusion, the concept of the Circles of Concern and Influence provide an interesting tool to gauge where you spend a lot of your mental time, and may provide you with the stark realisation that what angers you, shouldn’t.
And if something does anger you ‘properly’ – speak up and have the courage of your convictions. Challenge is definitely and justifiably in your Circle of Influence. And saves a lot of time.