Control can be a tricky and even polarizing concept. While some subscribe to the idea that we are capable of willing our wants and needs into existence, others believe in complete and utter chaos – events happen to us and we have no control over our own lives no matter how much we wish we do.
But, which of these philosophical camps is more beneficial or even useful to us regardless of whether they are actually true? Julian B. Rotterin explored this question in 1954 when he developed the concept of a Locus of Control. Locus, translated to place or location in Latin, can be internal or external and refers to whether we believe we control our lives or our lives control us.
These two loci align with “above the line” thinking – taking ownership, accountability, and responsibility – and “below the line” thinking – placing blame, making excuses, and denying issue. I bet from just these descriptions you can guess where I think the locus of control should be placed.
In my new book, Your Life is Not Your To-Do List: 10 Hacks for a Joy-Filled Entrepreneurial Journey which is coming out soon, I explain my life hack for how to change your locus of control and take ownership over your actions and mindset.
This is a sneak peek and example of one of the many life hacks featured in my book that will help you find your right track.
Stop the Victim Mentality
Victimhood might be comforting for a brief period of time – it would be all too easy for us to believe we are victims of circumstance and never contribute to our own fates. But, this mentality is often useless and serves as an excuse or even a limiting belief.
While comfort lies with victimhood, abundance, fulfillment, and joy lie with responsibility. To effectively change your locus of control from external to internal, you will need to disband the victim mentality. If we maintain victim status from our childhoods, experiences, or strokes of bad luck, we will only ever remain victims rather than growing into overcomers.
Find the Lesson
Negative or inconvenient events might be frustrating, but they can also be useful. Once you shed the victim mentality, it’s time to identify and use the learning opportunities derived from every experience, good or bad.
Relocating your locus of control from external to internal means consistently reflecting on the part that you played. Yes, events that are out of our control happen all the time, but even in those scenarios, we can find a lesson that will help us grow and work toward fulfillment. Instead of chalking up these experiences to Murphy’s law, ask what you can do next time to be better prepared or plan ahead.
Get out of BED. Grab an OAR.
Blame, excuses, and denial (BED) are all characteristics of an external locus of control. They are means of coping with negative experiences and shifting responsibility away from ourselves. They also happen to be useless and unproductive in self-development. On the other hand, ownership, accountability, and responsibility (OAR) help us learn from our experiences and shift from an external locus to an internal locus of control.
When we take ownership, accountability, and responsibility for even the events that we have no control over, we allow ourselves to learn and find fulfillment rather than when taking a more passive role. It also gives us the opportunity to own our journeys and act with agency, maturity, and empowerment. Remember that as adults, how our lives look is up to us. Sure, this idea can be scary, but it can also be encouraging and rewarding.
Internal Locus in Practice
I once drove an hour for a scheduled appointment with a client who was not in their office. Annoyed at the waste of my time, I reviewed the emails and confirmed that the place and time were correct, but my client had missed our appointment. An external locus of control would sound like, “this was the client’s fault. This always happens to me. I did nothing wrong.” But, what would that kind of thinking solve or fix? A more productive internal locus of control sounds like, “What can I do going forward to prevent this? How can I better prepare next time? What can I learn from this?” With an internal locus of control, I started confirming appointments before I drive anywhere, and since then, this type of frustrating situation has never happened. Plus, I was able to take ownership and responsibility for how I manage and value my time.
This might be a micro example, but when applied to larger areas of our lives, we can reap the benefits of changing our locus and grabbing an OAR.
Let’s Get Your Company Running on EOS
To learn more about hacks like these, book a discovery call with me so I can help lead you to a joy-filled, empowered life. Together, we’ll use the EOS framework to disband victim mentalities, relocate your locus of control, and take ownership of the journey to a fulfilling life ahead.