Zones of Control, Influence, and Interest
I was initially introduced to this concept by Gojko Adzic in a one-on-one conversation sometime in 2013 or 2014.
What are the zones?
Zone of Control is where you can directly affect things.
Zone of Influence is what you can affect by what you do in your Zone of Control.
Zone of Interest is where you want things to go well, but you can’t affect it.
The zones and goals
Reasonable goals (and OKRs, see Effectively Using OKRs) are in the Zone of Influence. Any goal in your Zone of Control feels good but won’t be important. Any goal in your Zone of Interest will be useless because you can’t affect it.
The zones and “Starting with Why”
When you define a significant “why”, your big “why” should be in the Zone of Interest, your goal should be in the Zone of Influence, and your subsequent actions should be in your Zone of Control.
The zones and Stoicism
This is essentially a Stoic idea:
“Some things are in our control and others not. […] If an appearance concerns anything not in your control, be prepared to say that it is nothing to you.”
―Epictetus, Enchiridion 1