The whole idea of the circle of influence is another concept that very much intrigues me. The general ideas is that there is a large circle called the circle of concern. Within this circle is a smaller circle, called the circle of influence. The circle of concern contains all that you are concerned about; your job, what you will eat, relationships, etc. The circle of influence contains those concerns which you can actually affect or control. This creates a ring of things that are in your circle of concern, but not within your circle of influence. Anything that lies in this ring is something that you are concerned about, but cannot control.
Too often we focus on things in our ring. This generates a negative attitude. We are constantly griping or dismayed over things which we can do absolutely nothing about. Meanwhile, those areas of our life where we can actually make a change (our circle of influence) go neglected. This shrinks our circle of influence and sends us in an overall negative direction. Personally, I find myself focusing on this area far too often.
On the other hand, we can be positive and focus on our circle of influence. Focusing on this area gives a person a positive attitude as they do not worry about those factors they have no control over. Instead, they focus all their energy on areas they can influence. In doing this, they create a positive emotional state as they see their circle of influence grow. I have seen this happen in my own life. I sometimes get in a mood where all I want to do is work on areas or projects that I can control. I find that I work more efficiently and have a generally more positive outlook when I focus only on these things and not on factors beyond my control. This is a concept I will constantly remind myself of in those times when it seems like I have too much to do.