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Affected or Effective? Are you more affected by circumstances or exerting a positive effect on them?

When I was a child I remember my dad often referring to a book by J. Allen Petersen entitled Your Reactions Are Showing. At the time, I didn't understand what was so fascinating to him about that book. Over 4 decades later, I understand.

Chuck Swindoll once said "I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it."

I doubt anyone would argue that it is far easier to focus on what is happening to us, whether or not we like it, and who and what we wish would change, than to look at the way we are responding and work on changing ourselves! Yet for those to invest the time, thought, reflection and effort to change, great rewards can await in areas of relationships, influence, career, finances and legacy!

Here is a simple comparison that may help you see which area you are visiting or where you may be renting space!

Affected or Effective? Affected People: Focus on what has happened to them Effective People:

Focus on how they respond to what has happened to them

Affected People: Focus on who and what they want to change Effective People: Focus on how they can change

Affected People: Seek ways to change circumstances Effective People: Seek resources to better themselves

Affected People: Focus on immediate happiness for themselves Effective People: Focus on long-term benefit for all involved

Affected People: Focus on receiving Effective People: Focus on becoming

Affected People: Concerned with how they are treated by others Effective People: Concerned with how they are treating others

Affected People: Create secondary issues by their response Effective People: Resolve primary issue of their attitude

Affected People: View difficulties as a hindrance to comfort Effective People: View difficulties as an opportunity for growth Affected People: Focus on what their wants/needs Effective People: ​Focus on the needs of others

Of course, we will all likely realize that we often visit the side of being affected, more than we would like to admit. It comes quite naturally, whereas becoming effective takes effort and intentionality. I one man so truthfully stated "I got the top the hard way, fighting my own laziness and ignorance every step of the way"! A few suggestions that may aid in our transition are: Take time to reflect- regular reflection on the things that are occurring and our reaction to them can provide valuable insight into our triggers and how we can manage our responses during time when we are most susceptible to being affected. We can also learn much from reflecting on how our reactions and attitudes effect others and what messages we are communicating to them. Insight from others- feedback from friends and family in a safe and encouraging environment can work wonders to helping us grow toward becoming more effective and less affected. The great thing is we can all grow together. Keep in mind that many people do not like to give "negative" feedback to your face. Priming the pump by bringing up an area you want to grow in and asking for further insights and feedback may help them warm to the process. Learning from others who are more mature- often acknowledging a good quality in another and asking for their insight can provide valuable perspective to help in our own journey. Most often, I find they are very willing to share their experiences and learning journey. Good role models- filling our minds and hearts with the stories, struggles and triumphs of those who have grown and overcome adversity can inspire us to remember that all our choices, even the little ones, have lasting impact and that we too make a difference each day. Lifelong learning- making daily growth, not goals, our priority, sets us up to each day find ways to become better than we were yesterday. Over time, this adds up and pays big dividends, like saving a little money each day. Wishing you all an effective, joyous and significant holiday season, Jeff


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