Would you pick up an umbrella or let the Rain Gods drench you every time you step out during monsoon cos rains are not in your control!!
Whenever dealing with any challenge in your life, do you feel you have control over the outcome? Or do you believe that you are simply at the hands of outside forces such as fate, god, or powerful and significant other beings?
Locus of Control (LOC) is a psychological concept developed in the 1950s by Julian Rotter, a clinical psychologist, educator and author, which indicates how strongly we believe that we have control over things that happen to us.
It refers to an individual’s perception of the underlying causes of events happening in their lives.
Internal vs External Locus of Control
If you believe you are the one who has control over whatever happens to you, you seem to have an internal locus of control. On the contrary, if you believe that external variables are to blame, then you have what is known as an external locus of control. For instance, a student with an internal locus of control would blame getting poor grades on his failure to study. A student with an external locus of control might blame an unfair teacher or test (out of syllabus) for his poor performance.
Your locus of control can not only influence how you respond to the events that happen in your life, but also your motivation to take action.
If you believe that you hold the keys to your fate, you are more likely to take action to change your situation when needed. But if you believe that the outcome is out of your hands, you may be less likely to work towards change.
If we try to visualize the locus of control as an image, this is how it would look.
The inner circle depicts the areas you believe you have control over. The outer contains factors you cannot control.
The contents of the two circles aren’t predetermined by birth. You make a personal choice of deciding what circle a particular life event goes in.
Internal locus of control
People with an internal locus of control exhibit the following traits:
- Take accountability for an outcome, no matter how small
- Face challenges head-on and strive for a solution
- Do not give up easily
- Are not easily influenced by the opinions of people, media, or other random sources of information
- Work well when they have the autonomy to make their own decisions
The two circles of influence for a person with an internal locus of control look something like this.
They make consistent efforts to improve the areas within their self-defined inner circle.
They’re least bothered by the events in the outer circle, which they believe they have no influence over.
Such people are constantly working on improving themselves and reaping the rewards in the process.
External locus of control
People with an external locus of control exhibit the following characteristics:
- Quick to blame others or situational/chance factors
- Complain frequently
- Dissatisfied with most things around them
- Believe luck plays a pivotal role in success or failure
- Find themselves in a corner during a difficulty hoping others will come to their aid
- Find an explanation for discontinuing their effort on a goal
- Give up when the going gets tough
- Believe that the ability they were born with isn’t sufficient to attain success
They assume having limited influence over results.
They believe luck and destiny determine where they end up and thus make little effort to change themselves.
Even if they set goals for themselves, they stop pursuing them when they notice the first sign of hard work. Nevertheless, they have a logical explanation to convince themselves and others why chasing the goal was not worth it.
How does the locus of control influence your life socially?
Unknown to you, your locus of control will influence many of the little decisions you make in life. Your motivation, productivity, and reaction to obstacles go hand in hand with your thought process.
Those who maintain an external locus of control will play the blame game. Such people are in denial of their mistakes, and therefore reluctant to improve themselves. They attribute all failures to external factors, thereby ignoring their flaws which ultimately leads them down the path of mediocrity.
When you believe your results are out of your control, you put in lesser effort because you assume it doesn’t make a difference anyway. Lack of effort translates into lack of results. You finally prove your point and tell yourself “Look, I knew it wasn’t in my destiny to achieve what I wanted.”
Those who possess an internal locus of control relentlessly pursue their goals. No matter how many times they encounter failure, they stand right back on their feet and give it another shot. Their obsession to reach the target leads them to try again and again until something clicks eventually.
While others call that a masterstroke of luck, these individuals know that with the right amount of effort, they are bound to get lucky sooner or later. Their belief in achieving any goal turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy because they make umpteen efforts to turn their dreams into reality.
Simply put, consider what happens when two people with an average aim try to shoot at a target?
The one who takes the higher number of shots has a greater chance of success.
Likewise, the person who tries different methods to achieve his or her goal has a greater chance of getting there.
How to modify your Locus Of Control?
Shifting of your thought process begins and ends in your mind. Even if you have the habit of blaming circumstances for your failures, you can still change your mindset towards an internal locus of control. But it is easier said than done. After all, you do not always have voluntary control over how your brain thinks.
That said, you do have control over your choices, and with consistent efforts, you have the power to modify your mindset for the better. In your initial efforts, you might find yourself drifting into your old thought process, but if you’re persistent enough, you’ll eventually win over your inner demons and come out victorious.
No one can ever have a 100% internal locus of control but we can always aim to change the sizes of our two circles. Understand that locus of control is not a fixed characteristic but rather a dynamic concept that can change over time. Having an internal locus of control tends to be associated with a better physical and mental health outlook in life.
Here are a few tips to increase your internal and shrink your external locus of control.
- Take responsibility: Regardless of external factors that may be beyond your control, find one thing you could’ve done better or talk about what you can be doing differently to live a better life.
- Avoid negative self-talk: Using terminal language like “there’s nothing I can do” or “I have no choice” reinforces the belief that one has no control when in most cases, that is simply not true. Adopting language that opens up and acknowledges alternative outcomes is an important part of strengthening a sense of accountability in one’s life.
- Engage in planned risk-taking: It helps you learn to regulate your behavior and view uncertainty as a challenge and not a threat.
- Embrace failure: When we fear failure, we become less willing to take on risks. Part of developing a healthy internal locus of control requires accepting that not everything is within our control. Failure too is an inherent part of being human and is almost always survivable.
- Get inspired: Every day, in all corners of the world, there are people overcoming adversity and doing amazing things. Register that they are no different from you. Read their stories. Watch their movies and videos. Practice opening up your world by saying yes to opportunities.
Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who usually do.Steve Jobs
IMPORTANT: Thought processes – a key to homoeopathic prescription, provide the most individualizing symptoms, unique in every individual. Your Locus of Control is one of them. The holistic body-mind approach towards every case in Homoeopathy enables your physician to reach a tailor-made remedy just for you. Besides giving a complete cure for your ailments, these remedies also help modify your tendencies to a large extent.