Posted in Lateral Thinking

Concentric Circles Of Interest.

There are two circles of ‘Interest.’ Or rather three (if you include the tiniest circle of control where we can exercise control like with our family for instance). The middle or inner one of the larger two concentric circles is the circle of influence where we can hope to have our way or say. We can hope to have some positive or negative influence within its ambit. The third or the outer larger circle is the circle of (no) concern of ours! We may evince some healthy interest in this circle without actual involvement. Or we may plunge headlong into this circle for better or for worse. Where we belong to in the scheme of these circles makes for all the difference.

These circles of influence and concern were first spoken of by the American author and public speaker/mentor Stephen Covey. Now his theories are syllabus of management schools. Still the circles fascinate even the housewife me as they clearly mark a distinction among the priorities we make and the result we infer thereupon.

In the circle of influence which is the inner core, we can exert our personal influence, go for something worthwhile and be proactive. A lot of benefits can be derived from here. We have control over our own actions and behaviour. We are responsible for our own state or condition with none to blame. We can maximize our potential and reap rich dividends with optimal utility of resources at our disposal. Normally this is the story of the ‘rags to riches’ men. For that matter, any high achiever can vouch by the circle of influence. The tapping of right opportunities at the right time is crucial. Those of us who have unwavering attention on the circle of influence can truly make a mark. These guys have a positive approach to things and the good vibes can leave an impression on all around. Such men and women are worthy of emulating. Their journey with pumped up energy to the pinnacle of success and glory can be an enthralling one full of spirit and adventure.

Its not that each and everyone of us have to reach a prescribed height in life. We all have our own small and tall personal summits to climb. Every story is still commendable for the efforts and merits thereoff.

There may be rare exceptions when some can be the cat on the wall when it comes to choosing between the two circles. Media guys can claim occupational hazard as the logic for extra curricular interests. Others can be masses who heroworship sportsmen etc. Theirs is a contained curiosity with no side-effects. We can look upon this as a welcome distraction, if not anything more. A change of scene.

Finally there may be the daring or the overconfident who may be more concerned about the outer world circle. Classic examples may be our political leaders, social activists etc., for who there is a sustained interest in what need not have to concern them in the first place. Perhaps nothing is illegal, yet nothing is warranted either. It also takes a great initiative and spirit to nurture any extraordinary interest when it comes to truly ambitious among us who would like to act as catalyst to social or political change for instance. It can be about anything really, why reduce the scope of anyone’s concern at all. Sky is the limit for these hopefuls. It has to be a personal calling if I may say so.

It is when the lesser mortals get stuck in the circle of concern that can waylay them off their original intended pursuits of goal, that we have a problem in hands. Hindus may refer to such a hanging state as ‘Trishanku swargam’ Unwarranted interest in the circle of concern can prove to be detrimental. It can cost us our peace of mind. It can make us lose focus and be least productive. It is simply unhealthy when you delve deeper with this circle of concern, because it is not going to add value to one’s self. Beyond a point, engaging oneself with this third outer world of concern is not advised.

Can we stop floods or earthquakes? Can we change the flight timings. Simply none of these are in our control. Can we cleanse or reform our society in a day of rapes and other crimes. Healthy discussions and debates are fine. Getting carried away with these factors can have no positive effect on our self. Pre-occupation with these worldly issues can be disturbing. Social media is breeding more of frustrated citizens sitting on the fence of circle of concern wherein they have no business to belong. If it is not in our power to move or change anything for the better, what is the point in cultivating hate or pessimism or negativity.

How to prove proactive in the circle of concern. We can organize sections of society with our position and influence, we can raise awareness, we can channelize our energy to constructive criticism and fruitful action, we can try to usher in changes for betterment wherever and whenever possible. That will be truly appreciated. Over social activists, the social workers are good here. One has to work from grassroots level here.

Still this is no reason to underestimate or undervalue or undermine those who limit themselves with their circle of influence. Their scope is still vast for not having a damaging or counter-productive effect within their small enclosure. The motivation others derive from such simple straight soul is remarkable We need not have to aspire to change this country, this city. But we can strive to make a difference in small willing and interested circle. Which is why in Bhagwad Gita, Krishna says, ‘Do your duty and leave the rest to God.’

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