Perceived Circle of Influence

Our circle of influence consists of all those things that we can influence. That is we can have some impact within the circle and none outside of the circle. Of course we have no direct knowledge concerning where that boundary lies. Instead we have what I call a Perceived Circle of Influence.

Inside our perceived Circle of Influence lie things we believe we can influence and outside are things we believe we cannot influence. Unlike our true Circle of Influence, we either consciously or unconsciously decide where our boundary lies. Given that we are unlikely to act outside our Perceived Circle of Influence, that decision impacts our future behavior.

This means that any conscious or unconscious choices that move our boundary man have long term impact. Consider a situation lying only partly inside our circle. I’m representing this by the smaller circle partly overlapping our Perceived Circle of Influence. Assume for the moment that this situation is important enough to warrant serious consideration. The question is: do we decide to act or not? If we act we have on one level assumed that we can, in fact, influence the situation. This has the effect of growing our circle. If we decide not to act then we have implicitly assumed we do not have influence which takes a bite out of our Perceived Circle.

The figure left shows what happens if we decide to act, growing our perceived Circle of Influence. The one one on the right shows what happens if we decide not to act shrinking it.The problem is not so much how se choose in a given case, we all make both kinds of choices. The real issue is whether we habitually make choices that shrink our Perceived Circle of Influence. If we do then our circle steadily shrinks until it is virtually nonexistent. At that point we are see ourselves primarily as victims of our surroundings.

One Comment on “Perceived Circle of Influence”


  1. […] quote is related to our Perceived Circle of Influence. When we believe something lies beyond our influence we won’t try. But even within our circle […]


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