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Locus of Control

Internals believe that their behavior makes a difference and that success or failure is due to their own efforts. As a result, internals strive more actively than externals to make things go the way they want. Since, for the most part, striving to make things go your way is more likely to make things turn out the way you want them to than not trying to make things happen, internals are more successful and happier than externals.

Extrernals do not realize how much impact their decisions make in their lives, and they generally don't learn from their experiences. They do not believe their behavior makes a difference in whether one experiences rewarding or punishing events, and thus, over time, lose motivation, and lack the persistance necessary to make changes in their lives.

Locus of control is not a typology, even though it can be pervasive for a lot of people, some people are internal in some domains, and external in others. For example, it is possible for someone to believe that they have complete control over their working environment but less control in social events. It is also possible to have an different locus of control for success than for failures.

By taking a closer look, it would certainly seem desirable to have an internal locus of control for success, and an external locus of control for failures. This would provide the necessary motivation to achieve even better results in the future, while at the same time avoid self blame that may manifest with failures. For example, an athlete may credit her success on persistance in training practice, while attribute any shortcomings on 'a bad day' or a wrong diet. Whatever we choose to do, it is important to realize we are always choosing what to do, weighing the pros against the cons, so to speak. Depending on the situation we can choose to either to rely on our judgement or listen to others or let destiny decide. Usually people decide to rely on their judgment in familiar situations, where they already have experience, and when they know what to expect, and what works. In other, less familiar situations, they may decide to listen to others or just go with any decision..

Examine areas in your life where change is desirable, and think about where you could accept and enact more control. You may not be able to take on full responsiblity, but a little bit more effort may actually make the difference between failure and success.

Alternatively, try to determine circumstances in your life where you think you have control, but in reality are out of reach. (e.g., other people’s behavior). By getting rid of these 'responsibilities' you could be doing yourself a huge favor.

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