In truth, very little is within our control, meaning most everything is beyond our control. Truly accepting this can be liberating because it means we can focus on the small areas in which we can make an impact.


To make it more real I like to view life and work as a pyramid:

Control: This is very small for a reason. Just ask yourself, what do I truly control? We may largely control what we do today and where we go and yet beyond ourselves our power diminishes rapidly. Any sense of control is also likely temporary with much effort being required to maintain it. Given that, what are the upsides and downsides of control?

Sphere of Influence: This is where events are not fully within our control but can perhaps be managed or at least influenced.

Beyond My Control: In truth, the bottom of the pyramid is almost infinite because virtually everything is beyond our control. This is not intended to depress us by bringing to light how powerless we are. Rather, it has the potential to liberate us by freeing us from worrying about things over which we have no control.

Questions in the Image:

  • What is beyond my control?
  • How do I feel about that?
  • How might I free myself of it?

Want to Read More Around This Topic?

The Courage to Be Disliked: How to Free Yourself, Change your Life and Achieve Real Happiness by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga (link to This book delves into Adlerian psychology and talks extensively about control, influence and acceptance. It offers some different perspectives so, regardless of whether you agree with the views and theories explored, the book will likely expand your understanding of yourself.

Nurturing Curiosity – Daily Practice: This is part of the Nurturing Curiosity series of tools, insights and questions designed to help nurture curiosity as part of our daily practice. In point of fact, every interaction we have is an opportunity to question what we are observing and how we and others are seeing the world. Also remember that questions come in many forms throughout our day – a busy day ahead prompts many questions as to how I planned my day. What do I truly want to accomplish today? How is each event contributing to my vision? What might I learn?

About Tom O’Leary

My mission is to help others think differently – meaning more broadly and deeply – and thereby make better decisions. The key to thinking differently lies in our curiosity.

The more we question, the more possible answers we uncover, and the more we expand what we thought possible. Life has taught me that possibility lies not so much in seeking answers but in learning to ask better questions – the ones that help prioritise what is truly essential.

And yet, in a culture obsessed with efficiency and productivity, the paradox is that much energy and resources are wasted by a bias towards action over contemplation. If you are answering the wrong question, it doesn’t matter how ‘hard’ you work, you are still answering the wrong question.

That is why I am a big advocate of nurturing curiosity and innovative thinking at all ages, particularly amongst leaders because of the impact they have on us all. In my vision, leaders aren’t boxed in by traditional thinking or established playbooks. They are curious, open to fresh ideas and diverse perspectives, fostering a culture of exploration and learning.

What Thoughts Would You Like to Share?

I welcome your thoughts, feedback, or personal experiences related to these questions or any insights they may have sparked.