Personal Development
Understanding Locus of Control and What Motivates You

Understanding Locus of Control and What Motivates You

Shiken premium Upgrade Banner

Understanding the Impact of Locus of Control

Locus of control is a psychological concept which refers to how much control we believe we have over what happens in our lives. It is our faith and trust in our own decisions and actions rather than attributing success or failure to external factors. In other words, it is a measure of how much power an individual feels they have to shape their own destiny, and is independent of gender, ethnicity or any other cultural identifier.

People with an external locus of control tend to attribute their successes or failures to external forces, such as luck or fate. Studies have suggested that having an external locus of control as a guiding principle may be linked to riskier behaviour and a reluctance to engage in treatments, such as therapy. In comparison, those with an internal locus of control believe that they have control over their own lives and that their successes and failures are a result of their own behaviour and decisions.

What Are the Benefits of an Internal Locus of Control?

An internal locus of control promotes autonomy and personal responsibility, and can result in greater feelings of self-efficacy. People with this outlook are less likely to be influenced by others� opinions and more likely to be motivated to achieve their own goals.In contrast, those with an external locus of control might credit luck or timing if they manage to achieve something. They may also feel powerless when facing a challenging situation and rely on fate to 'make things happen'.

When Is an External Locus of Control More Beneficial?

It is important to consider the context in which each type of locus of control works best, as this may vary depending on the individual or the situation. For example, an internal locus of control can be beneficial in the workplace, as it encourages clear communication. However, it may also lead to difficulties in delegating responsibility and a risk of burnout.

People with an external locus of control may find it difficult to take ownership and initiative in their lives, but in some cases can be more open to luck or fate in achieving their goals.

Understanding the Impact of Locus of Control

Locus of control can be an important factor in understanding why we make the decisions that we do, and how we can improve our lives. Knowing the differences between internal and external locus of control can help us to identify which is the best fit for an individual or situation, and how to modify our perspectives accordingly.

For example, understanding how you approach success and failure can help you to identify how much control you feel you have over your own life. It may also help you to identify areas of your life where you can take greater ownership and responsibility, and thus create positive change.

Locus of Control: Understanding Your Ability to Influence Life Outcomes

It is important to note that not all internal or external locus of control is good or bad and they could lead to similar outcomes in some cases. Generally, most people have a combination of both.

An individual with a more internal locus of control believes that the outcomes of their life are determined by their own actions and decisions, while someone with an external locus of control believes that chance, luck, external forces, or an outside power are responsible. Both of these perspectives can motivate behaviours, as well as lead to different attitudes, strengths, and weaknesses.

Characteristics of an Internal Locus of Control

The following are examples of what one may think if they have an internal locus of control:

  • It's possible to achieve anything with hard work and self-control.
  • No one has a predestined fate and it's always possible to change it.
  • People get what they deserve based on their choices and actions.
  • Problem-solving requires dedication to succeed.
  • By changing our behavior, we can change the world.
  • Creating a vision statement is important for long-term outcomes.

Characteristics of an External Locus of Control

The following are examples of what one may think if they have an external locus of control:

  • Life events are all about luck and chance.
  • People have little to no control over what happens in the world.
  • We have no control over our own lives.
  • Long-term goal setting is futile.
  • What happens to people is unrelated to what they deserve.

The Slippery Slope of Overworking

Believing that everything they want to achieve relies solely on them, people with an internal locus of control are often prone to overworking and this can take a toll on mental health and self-esteem. On the other hand, someone with an external locus of control may find it easier to 'let go' of things that are beyond their control, which can lead to improved happiness. This same 'let go' attitude can also lead to apathy in some cases. Additionally, both loci of control have potential to cause social loafing in different ways. For instance, someone with an internal locus of control may begin to loaf if they don't care enough about the group's goal, whereas someone with an external locus of control may loaf because of their belief that their contribution will not make a difference in achieving the shared goal.

How an Internal or External Locus of Control Can Manifest in Different Situations

Let's look at what different situations can look like depending on your locus of control. For example, when changing careers, someone with an internal locus of control might take the initiative to start looking for jobs and optimizing their resume, whereas someone with an external locus of control would wait for fate to bring them the right opportunity. If their neighbour gets a new luxury car, someone with an external locus of control may believe that they either got lucky or were handed all the right opportunities to afford it, whereas the opposite belief would be indicative of an internal locus of control. Finally, if one were to get a promotion they were hoping for, a person with an external locus of control may attribute it to luck, timing, or fate, while an internal locus of control would suggest that it was due to their hard work.

An internal or external locus of control is neither all good nor all bad, but the important takeaway is that different situations can look different depending on the type of locus of control someone has.It is the responsibility of every individual to be aware of how their locus of control affects different situations and take action accordingly.

Understand Your Locus of Control

Knowing your locus of control is vital to your well-being, helping to form a healthier outlook on life and guiding your behaviour in the right direction. Research has demonstrated that a person's locus of control can greatly affect their experience of stress and overall happiness. If you're struggling with your own sense of control, coaching can help you successfully shift your perspective and increase your sense of agency.

Coping Mechanisms: Definition and Function

It's true that there are some things that are completely out of your power, but you do have the power to control how you handle those feelings. Coping mechanisms are the tools people use to manage difficult emotions, such as stress, anger, and fear. These could be anything from talking to a friend, engaging in physical activity, or journaling. Whatever helps to reduce stress is a coping mechanism and can be very beneficial.

Overcoming Anxiety: How to Take Back Your Life

It is possible to take back control of your life from anxiety. To do so, you need to understand the symptoms, causes, and treatments available to you. Additionally, improving your self-determination skills and a focus on locus can help build psychological resilience and develop a sense of belonging.

Letting Go of Control: Free Up Mental Bandwidth

Letting go of control is necessary to free up some mental space and find peace. Here are some strategies to bear in mind when learning to let go: Firstly, control your reaction in situations to ease some of the burden of responsibility. Secondly, focus on important beliefs, values, and priorities to keep yourself on track. Additionally, practice self-compassion and take breaks when you need them.

Putting an End to Distractions at Work

Distractions in the workplace can be a major source of stress and a barrier to productivity. To reduce distractions, take the time to identify and understand what's causing the problem. It could be overscheduling, lack of rest, or difficult tasks. With that knowledge, you can take steps to eliminate those distractions and be more productive.

The Benefits of Patience: 8 Reasons Why it Matters

Patience is an essential quality to develop and can help immensely in terms of increasing emotional control and finding peace within yourself. Here are eight reasons why patience is important:

  • It helps you to think before you act.
  • It encourages more compassion and understanding.
  • It helps you to make better decisions.
  • It can reduce stress and anxiety.
  • It helps you to be more mindful.
  • It helps you to better manage your emotions.
  • It helps you to become better at problem-solving.
  • It promotes a sense of tolerance and understanding.

Starting Over in Life: 7 Steps to Build the Life You Want

If it's time for a fresh start, it's possible to take conscious steps to restore control of your life. Here are seven steps you should take to get started:

  • Assess where you are in life right now.
  • Set realistic and achievable goals.
  • Develop an actionable plan that will help you reach your goals.
  • Focus on the things that make you feel happy and fulfilled.
  • Prioritize self-care and develop positive habits.
  • Surround yourself with supportive and inspiring people.
  • Stay in the present moment.

Join Shiken For FREE

AI-powered learning tools. Create, relax, learn.

Gumbo Study Buddy

Try Shiken Premium
for Free

14-day free trial. Cancel anytime.
Get Started
Join 20,000+ learners worldwide.
The first 14 days are on us
96% of learners report x2 faster learning
Free hands-on onboarding & support
Cancel Anytime