In Which I Decide to Focus Less on Things I Can’t Change . . .

control board. . . and more on things I can!

Almost exactly a year ago, on July 4, 2016, I started posting about the upcoming election on my personal Facebook page. I had never been particularly interested in politics before but had become greatly exercised about the possible outcome in November. My goal was to change a few minds or at least open them a crack. (I don’t post directly about politics on this page or on my author Facebook page.

It’s a little confusing sometimes for people, because my personal FB page doesn’t have anything about me on it at all except my political opinions, while my author FB page contains these posts in which I talk about myself, like, a lot.) I have spent countless hours over the past year reading, reading, reading, going from one website to another, listening to one podcast after another, and then posting the cream of the crop and writing some stuff of my own. Sometimes I’d tell myself, ‘You know what, Debi? None of this is making a whisker’s worth of difference in your life. It’s good to be a well-informed citizen and to make an attempt to correct the (ahem) misapprehensions of others, at least as you see it, but you need to limit the time you’re spending on this.’ And then I’d go right back to my rounds of reading and posting.

Yesterday I mentioned the Mr. Money Mustache blog post You Can’t Cure Obesity with Bigger Pants (didja read it yet?). While I was on his site I noticed another title, “How Big Is Your Circle of Concern?” I knew I had read the article, since back when I discovered his site I read just about every single one (with the exception of some long ones about DIY home-improvement projects). But it rang a bell somewhat, so I went back and re-read it, and doing so confirmed my thought, mentioned above, that perhaps I needed to do a bit of refocusing on how I spend my time and attention. I do indeed want and, I think, need to know what’s going on with the government of my country. We all need to be paying attention and staying informed. But there’s a limit to how much I can absorb or, more to the point, accomplish, with all this reading and posting. Most of the time I’m just preaching to the choir anyway, although I hope I’m somewhat encouraging to said choir.

So I’m going to start limiting my intake so that every time I take a break from my own writing I don’t automatically go over to a news website for a fresh dose of outrage. The latest scandal will quickly fade, or it won’t—in which case I’ll hear about it soon enough. And even though it’s going to just about kill me, I’m going to stop the multiple posts per day on FB and just post one. So it had better be good!

And I need to think more about the things I can actually do that will make an impact on the people around me. As my wise pastor has said, “No one has ever changed his mind about an issue because of reading a Facebook post.” Sigh. Not even my posts? Guess not.

MMM is very much enamored with The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey, and Heaven only knows that I’ve tried to get through that book before and probably mentioned in a previous post or two. It’s so preachy. I’m really surprised that MMM likes it, but he does, and it’s Covey who makes the distinction between your “circle of concern” (things you think about and worry about) and things you can actually control. Interestingly, and somewhat ironically, if you limit your focus mostly to what you can actually do something about your influence will grow, not diminish. So I’m very concerned about what’s going on in Washington DC, am I? Well, maybe I should figure out what I can do here, in Littleton, to get involved in government on some local level. Maybe I should work harder at trying to line up some speaking gigs in which I talk about, say, the fact that a belief in conspiracy theories is profoundly anti-Christian. (Did you know that? Well, book a talk with me and find out all about it.) I just returned an Audible.com book that I didn’t like and have used my returned credit to get the Covey book—all 13+ hours of it. I guess that soon I’ll be so nauseatingly productive no one will be able to stand me! (Not much danger of that—the productivity, that is.)

So it’s all downloaded, and I need to go feed the cats, so I guess I’ll get started.

What’s in your circle of control that you’re neglecting?

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