Recently, I found myself thinking about responsibility. I am trying to delineate when to take responsibility for an issue and when not to be too harsh on myself. If I can do this whenever I meet a setback, I would be able to pick myself up and move forward faster. 

I found the advice dished out by Stephan Covey in his book, the seven habits of highly effective people, useful and insightful in this context. Some events are within our sphere of influence and some are not. To spare you from a long-winded discussion, I have listed down some events that I believe are within and not within our control below.

Similarly, Stephan Covey shared that Proactive people focus on the circle of influence that lies within their circle of concern. The implicit message in this statement also acknowledges that there are things that are within the control of an individual and things that are not.


Being able to reflect and distinguish if we could alter the outcome of an event would help us cope with any negative emotions that accompany an unpleasant event. I found that whenever I have to make a difficult decision, I would suffer from varying magnitudes of regrets at different points in time. I had to consciously watch out for automatic negative thoughts, guilt and self-blame to prevent myself from spiralling down into depression and emanating negative energy to people around me.

Instead of channelling our energy to achieve our goals in life, negative-thought patterns will hamper one from taking positive actions and increase the time to bounce back from a temporary defeat, making one fall into the category of “reactive people” as illustrated by Stephan Covey.

Therefore, whenever you find yourself getting upset over a certain situation, you could perhaps categorise the causes of the problem into what is within your control and what is not, to help yourself move forward. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *