Locus of control describes how a person views the world and their place in it. There are considered to be two types of locus of control. Internal – when an individual perceives life’s successes and failures depend on their own preparedness, education and skills, and external – one believes luck, social status and the gene pool are primarily responsible for their successes, failures, health and happiness. Individuals with a high internal locus of control may try harder and prepare in advance to succeed, believing their efforts lead proportionally to their success.
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Locus of control and one’s view of life and the world around them
Locus of control is defined in the Psych Central Encyclopedia as ‘the extent that people believe they have control of their lives’ (Fournier, 2016). On one end of the spectrum is the internal locus of control, at which a person feels they are entirely responsible solely for the outcome of events in their life. At the other end of the spectrum is the external locus of control, which indicates that people feel as though things beyond their control (luck, parental social status, genes, those around them or a divine being) are responsible for the outcome of the things they experience in life.
The implications of these perceptions or beliefs is monumental. Imagine, for a moment, that you believe that most all things are a product of your efforts and the skills and attributes you have cultivated in your lifetime heretofore. How might you attack a task or problem presented to you? What would your perception of the outcome of your efforts be? How would you respond to failures? Perhaps you might try harder and be better prepared next time.
Compare and contrast this to one who believes that things are mostly out of their control. How would this person view exercise and healthy habits and diet? Why would they bother, since genes decide how long one lives and what they die of? Would a person with an external locus of control dare to educate oneself and barge into professional society and ‘change one’s stars?’ I think not. Why bother, when the gods have decreed your course.
I think many of us fall somewhere in between. In the survey at http://www.queendom.com/tests/access_page/index.htm?idRegTest=704 , which we were asked to take, I scored in the 96th percentile to the internal locus of control end of the spectrum. I
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believe most all things are up to us; to our preparation and effort, that we make our own ‘luck’ or that the divine blesses us to the extent it can based on the ‘sharpness of the tool’ at it’s disposal. We are the masters of our own destiny. I have found this to drive me to prepare and try harder. I make no excuses and blame no one but myself for my failures. I do, however, acknowledge and share my successes with any and all involved, and am grateful for any blessing received. I believe these habits promote hard work, effort and humility.
I believe an internal locus of control puts me in charge of my education and the results I obtain. Others participate and, in fact, assign grades to my efforts, nevertheless, a good effort will receive a good grade in general and a poor effort, that fails to follow direction, a poor grade. ‘I am the master of my fate. I am the Capitan of my soul’ (Henley, 1875).
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Fournier, G., (2016). Locus of control. Psych Central Encyclopedia. Retrieved from
Queendom, (2016). Locus of control and attributional style test. Retrieved from
Henley, W., (1875). Invictus. Retrieved from http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/invictus