Influence and Control
The Wisdom to Know the Difference
Written by Randi Fine, Narcissistic Abuse Expert
Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine
We make plans - the Universe laughs
When facing the challenges life brings it is important to understand the difference between influence and control; what is within our power, what is not, and what we do have influence over.
Do you spend a lot of time and energy worrying, focusing on or trying to change things you have no control over? Do you believe you can determine the exact outcome of the future?
Life is unpredictable. The worldwide pandemic was a palpable example of that. We all had plans for the future, none of which included getting sick, losing loved ones, closing businesses, being out of work, having no income, being physically cut off from friends and family, being unable to travel, becoming house bound.
No one could have known how life would look in the aftermath of the pandemic. It was impossible for anyone to control the outcome. But we did have influence over how we protected ourselves and others, the perspective we chose to take, and how we moved forward.
The Circle Influence and Control pictured at the top of the page is representative of a tool created by Steven Covey in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The intent of this model is to help us be proactive in our lives. Covey teaches us to focus on what we can influence and act upon rather than stressing and feeling helpless over what we cannot control.
Accepting that which we cannot control does not make us lazy, unmotivated or weak. It opens our lives up; allows in possibilities we could have never imagined and opens doors. Control is resistance. It blocks all the possibilities that are out there for us and locks all doors.
There are things in life we can control and things we cannot. Some examples of things we can control are:
Our thoughts and what we tell ourselves
Our personal boundaries
What we focus on
Our peace of mind
Our work ethic
The way we treat others
The way we treat ourselves (mind, body, and spirit)
Who we allow in our lives
Our level of gratitude
Our education and expertise
What we eat
What we share with others
Whether or not to forgive
What we do in the moment
Examples of things we cannot control are:
What happened in the past
What will happen in the future
How happy others are
The family we were born into
The parents we were given
What others will say
Who loves and likes us
When we will die
How tall or short we are
Adversity and tragedy
Examples of things we can influence are:
Our level of success
Making a difference in the lives of others
Peace in the world
Our personal environment
The condition of the world we live in
Those who seek our knowledge
How others treat us
Laws and rules
The trajectory of our life
Any time you need clarity on a personal issue you can draw you own Circles of Influence and Control and place whatever thoughts you are working through inside.
Randi Fine is an internationally renowned narcissistic abuse expert and coach, and the author of the groundbreaking book Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: The Narcissistic Abuse Survivor’s Guide to Healing, the most comprehensive, most well researched, and most up-to-date book on this subject. In addition to helping survivors recognize their abuse and heal from it, this book teaches mental health professionals how to recognize and properly treat the associated abuse syndrome. She is also the author of Cliffedge Road: A Memoir, the first and only book to characterize the life-long progression of complications caused by narcissistic child abuse.