ESSENTIAL ELEMENT: Influence and Control
Critical Concept: The Ability to Choose
We innately crave control in our lives. Control can manifest in many ways, but ultimately we need to feel safe. We want to feel a sense of influence in our destiny. We want to be able to choose. Ultimately, we are terrifically loss-averse, and the loss of freedom to choose is one of our most primal fears.
The ability to choose is the hallmark of influence.
Hard-wired into our very core are innate values that guide our experience like a GPS system (Genetic Positioning System). These values are the compass that directs our life experiences, relationships and decisions. These Innate Values are not chosen. They are inborn.
Our Belief Systems, however, are learned. They are shaped throughout our lives by our experiences, interpretations, relationships and environment. These beliefs make up our Paradigm – our viewpoint of the world. They dictate all of our behaviors, habits and lifestyle patterns. They predict what we think, what we say, what we do and what we feel. They are dynamic and heavily influenced.
Our belief systems are learned, and therefore are chosen.
We can choose better belief systems. A vital behavior for gaining greater influence in your life is the ability to choose a better belief system. Once we recognize that the paradigm that has dictated every thought, response, choice, and behavior pattern in our lives is learned, we can also recognize that it can be re-learned.
In the Bonfire Spark Resources you will find several tools and exercises that you can use to examine your current belief systems and work toward creating the beliefs that are congruent with your values and purpose.
A best practice taught by Influence Master Stephen Covey is the understanding of what he refers to as our Circle of Influence (COI). Covey teaches that our COI consists of what we think and what we do. This COI exists within a larger circle – our Circle of Concern (COC). Our COC consists of every stimulus that makes it onto our radar. Everything that registers to our sensory systems exists within our COC. He teaches that we only have influence on those things in our COI (what we think and do). Covey goes on to say that the more we focus on our COI, the larger our influence becomes. Conversely, the more time, energy and focus that we waste outside of our Circle of Influence, the less influence we enjoy.
Our lives can be reduced to a series of choices and the results of those choices. Every choice, every day, we get to shape our lives. Create an increased awareness of your Innate Values and choose Belief Systems that are in alignment with them – and watch your behaviors follow suit.
Peace of mind is chosen.