Probably you wonder, what does following the news have to do with personal effectiveness?
Well I’ll get to that, but first I’d like to share the two issues I have with watching the news.
1. It is nearly impossible to get a full and objective picture of reality
Why do world leaders take certain decisions? What are countries really at war for? A news item or newspaper article is simply too short to show the full complexity of these situations.
And besides that a lot of interests are at stake in these situations and the selectiveness of information is often used to influence and mislead us. For that the news doesn’t even have to be untrue. Just a slightly different perspective can already change the message completely.
The second issue I have with watching the news:
2. Even if what we saw was the complete truth, most of it we don’t have an influence on.
A lot of awful things happen all around the world. But what is the value of knowing about all these things if we can’t change them?
Now I’m getting closer to the link to personal effectiveness, which is alle about the effect that we have with the actions that we take. A model that I often use in my coaching is: the Circle of Influence developed by Stephen Covey.
Circle of Influence
The Circle of Influence contains two circles:
The outer circle of concern, where you find situations you feel connected to or are concerned about, but don’t have an influence on. Think the weather, other people’s behaviour, the economy, politics and a lot of things we see in the news.
The inner circle of influence, where you actually can make an impact to change or improve the situation. These are your own actions, what you say and what you spend your time and energy on.
There is a universal principle that says:
what you pay attention to grows
From this perspective:
If we focus on the things we are concerned about, but don’t have an influence on, a sense of frustration, helplessness and sadness will grow
If we focus on the inner circle, not only our influence, but also our impact ánd effectiveness will grow and with that a sense of strength, autonomy and fulfillment.
Where to start?
So how would this apply to things that happen in the world? Could we make the step from the outer circle to the inner circle here?
I think we could!
What works for me is to focus my energy and to consciously contribute in an active way. The more I open up for this, the more opportunities come by and I simply picked the ones that fit me. I support a little boy in Sri Lanka through a small organisation that I trust. I decided to use less plastic and eat less meat. And the past two years I volunteered as a trainer for a foundation with the mission to increase the impact of volunteering abroad.
All these things feel like a valuable purpose of my time and energy, they don’t cost me a lot and they give me a lot more positive energy in return.
Once I started shifting my focus like this, more and more inspiring examples came to my attention. One of them is the Happy Activist. It is a dutch channel that displays all sorts of small and big initiatives that contribute in a positive way, like the seesaws at the US- Mexican border.
Happy the peppy
Maybe you think... isn’t this a bit too happy? Would we really be involved in the world if we would get rid of the news and only focus on smaller opportunities to contribute?
I would dare to say we will be more involved. The news gives us the opportunity to know a little bit about a lot of what is going on in in the world, but doesn’t give us the direct opportunity to do something. If we would all focus on a few things that interest us, get honest information about it and then put that information to use by doing something, we would be involved in a much more effective way. And by doing that we increase our circle of influence and can increase our impact more and more.
Don't stop watching the news!
What? My message is not that everyone should stop watching the news. My message is that we could collectively be much more effective in making the world a better place if we would all focus a bit more on our circle of influence, by making conscious choices in what we put our time and energy in.
Feel free to reach out! Book a free explorative coffee session at the top of this page or chat with my via the whatsapp button on the lower right side.
Have a happy day!