Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Circle of Control

When I work with people I try to help them understand the things that are in their control and those things that are outside their control. The way that I do this is I make a circle and have them start to list things that they have control over. This can be true or false beliefs, this is not important at this point of the exercise. The person will list different things like school work, eating habits, different people, etc.. Now as they name them off we also decide how much control the have over these things. The more control they have the closer to the center of the circle they are placed and the less control they have goes farther out inside the circle. We then talk about things that they do not have control over (once again true or false beliefs are not really looked at at this point). These are placed outside of the circle. The less control the person has over the thing the farther away from the circle they are placed.

One item that I like to use as an example is weather. Most people will say well I have no control over that, but then I explain to them how cloud seeding works and if a person were to have enough know how and money they could influence the weather. This is when we start to talk about the beliefs of what a person can and cannot control. We also talk about how a person gains control through money, education, who the person knows etc.... By this time our circle begins to expand or contrast depending on what is going on.

When creating our characters they have a circle of control as well that will determine who and what that person can influence. As we are creating our characters it is helpful to come back to this circle as we write to see how things have changed for that person. It is helpful to remember the things that they really do have control over and those things that they believe they have control over.

Well I have sent my book out to sever readers and I look forward to the feed back. Thanks to all of you for your help and support!!


  1. Interesting. I suppose a Jedi's circle of influence would/could be much larger. Most of the characters I write have little influence. Not none, but little.

    1. nice...and of course we have those of us that really struggle with control as well...agree on teh circles of influence...

  2. I will have to think of my characters' circles of my control; what is and what isn't under their control is often very important to them.

  3. I think this is a great way to show a difference in character's ages. Supposedly, as an adult I have more control over my life. This is true in the fact that I go to work and get paid and decide what to buy. I may not like the fact that I have to buy food instead of books but that is a choice I actually do get to make. I just don't like my choices and it sometimes feels like I don't have a choice. I could buy Ramen noodles and books but I don't think my husband would approve. Youths on the other hand don't have as much control over their environment. If they don't make any money, they don't have control over what is purchased for them to eat most of the time. This has definitely got me thinking about my characters. Thanks for another great post.

  4. So...when I'm stressed out, I really need to do this. And stop worrying about the stuff that I have no control over and work on the stuff that I do! Great post!

  5. This is really interesting. Sometimes what we think we have control over reveals as much about us as what we actually do have control over.


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