Mental Health

One Habit of A Happy Person — Shrink Your Circle of Concern

In one of the talk-shows legendary comic Hindi poet Surendra Sharma said the secret of his happy married life is that all minor decisions are taken by his wife and in all major issues he never listens to his wife and what he says is final.

Then he went on to define minor decisions as what should he wears, how much should he spends daily menu in the house, etc. etc, and major issue as to whether India should make a nuclear bomb, whether the US should do trade treaty with India, whether the partition of India was right, etc.

The couple is deciding on the different aspects collectively known as their area of concern. But the wife is focusing on the area of concern and area of influence both. The Poet is focusing only on the area of no-influence.  He has no power to influence his area of concern.

Those who know Stephen Covey know about the circle of concerns and circle of influence and its importance in our daily life. In his bestselling book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, he introduced this concept.

Our circle of concern means,” Our concern encompasses the wide range of concerns we have, such as our health, our children, problems at work, the amount of government borrowing, or the threat of war, etc.”

Our circle of influence means, “Our capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.”

Circle of Concern

The author advises, everyone should know both the circles. He says proactive people, work on areas of influence to improve their area of concerns and work to expand the area of influence to address more areas of concern. This will make us successful and happy.

But whether expanding the circle of influence a sustainable way to become happy? Whether will we always going to keep our circle of influence bigger than the circle of concerns?

The answer is perhaps, No. This is an endless chase. The solution lies somewhere else.

Here is a contrarian view I wish to bring to the notice of the readers:

The questions are; Should we be expanding our circle of influence or contracting our circle of concerns?

The more areas of concern we have, the more worried, fearful, negative, depressed, disturbed we would become. We are never satisfied with our present life. We are always worried about the future. We are never content and satisfied with everything and every aspect of our life.

The present COVID 19 pandemic, its economic impact, trembling mental and emotional health are adding woes to our already perturbed life.

The best antidote to deal with the present situation and life on the whole is to minimize your circle of concern. This is in your hand. You can learn that.

Now the issue is, How would we do this enormous task of shrinking our circle of concerns?

Here comes, Indians scriptures like Bhagavad Gita, Upanishad, explaining the laws of Karma, to our help.

  1. You Have No Control Over What Happens With You.

Whatever happens with us is influenced by our past Karmas. There is no need to support it with any scriptures. We all have experienced this. Just have a glance over your past life and know how many things happened to you without your wish and will.

Whatever is going to happen is bound to happen irrespective of our wish, will, resistance, or hatred. Therefore, be with peace with whatever is happening with you.

  1. You Have No Control Over the Outcome of Your Deeds.

It is a factor of our Past Karmas. In-spite of our best efforts many are surviving from severest of disease and many die from the common disease. The same is the fate of people putting up the hard work but achieve different outcomes. Efforts might be similar, but different outcome. This we all know. The difference is not because of any predestined power or luck or blessings of someone. All outcomes are governed only by our past Karmas.

This is why it is clearly said in Bhagavad Gita, “You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action.” Fruits of action are influenced by and subject to our past Karmas.

  1. You Only Have Control Over How You Respond to the Above Two Situations.

This is what we have in our hands. It is the new Karma we do.  We all are free to do our new Karma. We are also free to refrain from doing any new Karma. When we become disturbed or pleased in a given situation, in either case, we are attracting new Karmas. When we do things with an expectation attached, we are attracting new Karmas. By remaining calm and composed and doing what you can do in a given situation without attachment with the outcome, you are refraining from attracting any new Karmas.

The crux of the matter is whatever is going to happen will happen, whatever is not going to happen will not happen. Our response in every situation is in our hands. Our response either binds us further with new Karmas or free us from the past Karmas.

If we believe in these three principles of life, all concerns including Corona/ COVID 19 should ideally evaporate. Now it is our hand how much do we need to worry about the future, worry about the Corona-virus, and worry about the Economy.

However, we are not sage and therefore we would worry. Yet knowing the reality of life gradually makes our mind accept life as it comes. If you don’t accept this reality, you remain in the state of unrest till the life you wanted to create or you want to have is not realizing.

As the saying goes,” We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.” Seneca.

Don’t worry about anything and don’t suffer before it’s due. Let the future unfolds. Even when the suffering is real, deal with it with calm and composure. This reality and believing in this reality would help you to deal with the present situation and every situation in life. It would keep your mental and emotional states fit.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Don’t cry for Orange. When life gives you Corona, realign your life and work to create an alternative version of the future. Do not hold on to the past and keep lamenting, and worrying anxiously.

Your plethora of concerns is shrinking your happiness and making you mentally ill. Shrink your circle of concern and what it will release is mental, emotional, and overall Happiness.

Ebook:  The Highest Ignorance.


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