How to focus your energy and change your world

My coach once taught me how to focus my energy to make things happen with a quite easy-to-use tool. Since then, I believe I am able to do almost anything. Here’s the magic exercise.

Take a piece of paper and write something that looks like this:

4 quadrants

Quadrant 1: Here you should write things that you know you can change and that you accept. Here you will find everything you know you are capable of changing. You should put all your energy in this quadrant. By doing so, you are investing your energy in stuff that depends on you.

An example: you have to deal with somebody that you don’t like at all. You can’t change the way this person behaves, but for sure you can change the reaction you have when she behaves like that. Maybe this person has driven you mad for ages. Today you can start a change by not losing your nerves with her. It’s totally up to you. And the magic is, when you do so, suddenly people around you starts behaving differently!

Quadrant 2: Here you’ll find everything that you can NOT change and that you accept. When you accept that there are things that you can’t change, like the fact that your husband wants a divorce, you have peace. Although in some circumstances it might be really hard, accepting that there are things that you can’t change really brings peace of mind. Accept that you can’t make people change at your wish and suddenly you will feel relaxed and focused on what actually is in your hands (quadrant 1).

Quadrant 3: Find here things that you really can change, but for some reason (procrastination, laziness, excuses…) you believe you can’t. For instance, you’ve been willing to go to the gym for months, but you don’t actually go for many different reasons. Here there is something YOU can change but you always find a reason to avoid it. Only you and your will determine that you move stuff from quadrant 3 to quadrant 1.

Quadrant 4: This is the worst quadrant to be in. This is stuff you don’t accept and you can’t change. Being here means being frustrated and feeling useless. An example: my boss makes a decision I don’t like. I would do something different, but I am not the boss. I don’t accept it and I can’t change it, because he is the one chosen to decide about this particular topic. I might have the illusion that if I put a lot of energy I will convince him to change his mind. But this is not true. Of course I must show my point-of-view to give him a different perspective. And I have to be honest and explain why I would decide differently. But, at a given moment, I need to accept that he will probably not change his mind and therefore move this topic from quadrant 4 to quadrant 2: accept that you can’t change this and get immediate peace of mind.

Write in this piece of paper all the topics that are taking energy from you now. One by one, analyse your chances to make it change: is it in your hands? or is it in somebody else’s? Take everything in the bottom part of your paper and move it to the top: Put action in your list in quadrant 3 and get peace of mind by accepting that what you wrote in quadrant 4 should move to the top.

As one person I cannot change the world, but I can change the world of one person. – Paul Shane Spear


4 thoughts on “How to focus your energy and change your world

  1. I am always willing to make an effort and work hard towards change, but it seems lately I have somehow fallen into quadrant 4 and I just cannot climb out. The worse part is, I see the situation. The change needed and yet there seems like I am stuck in quick sand. I can’t get out. I will try this exercise, I hope it helps.

    • Khushbo, I said it’s hard, as sometimes it’s really difficult to accept what you don’t like and you get stuck in the feeling that there is still something you can do. If you already see the situation and the change needed, you are half way from your destination! If you allow me to give you some advice: find a purpose for being in quadrant 2. And if your peace of mind is not enough to make you climb out, find a purpose in what surrounds you: people you love, projects you want to do, things you want to put your energy on. May the force be with you!

      • I will try my best and see what I come up with for the quadrant 2 initiative. Thank you for the advice and understanding, I do appreciate it 🙂

  2. Hola Anna, just avui estava fent una nota a evernote titulada: “Do not forget!”, i el primer que estava posant era aquest quadrant. Gràcies!!

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