Have you ever felt like you’re in total control over your life? As if you’re putting your fate in your own hands or commanding your destiny? If so, you must be a person who possesses a very strong internal locus of control.
Locus of control is an intriguing term, isn’t it?
If this term leaves you scratching your head, then this article might come in handy! Here, all the bare essentials you need to know about the locus of control will be tackled, along with tips on how to cultivate it to its fullest. Also, in this article, Meg Price co-founder and director of NOA Coach, will share recent neuroscience findings showing how locus of control can improve productivity and how you can develop it for a brighter and more successful outcome.
It is true that when hearing this term for the first time, question marks start to pop out everywhere. Well, it’s not something that we hear every day, after all. Locus of control or LOC is a psychological context that is quite unfamiliar to most people. When defined, however, it becomes easier to understand.
That said, let’s explore the true definition of locus of control.
Psychologically speaking, the term locus of control relates to the notion that we view life either as something we can control or something that controls us. It is akin to a psychological scale system that can help you measure how strong your grip on life is n general. This usually includes factors such as a person’s composure, motivation, capacity to adapt and improve to changes in both their external and internal environment, as well as any other aspects that attribute to one’s success or failure.
This psychological concept is divided into internal locus of control and external locus of control. These types of locus of control highly contrast each other in many ways.
To fully grasp the concept of the two, let’s tackle them one by one.
A person possessing an internal locus of control (ILOC) believes that they have a tight grip on their lives in which they can make or influence any results through their actions. These individuals usually show eagerness to learn new things, explore riskier feats, and exert more effort in improving themselves.
In contrast to an internal locus of control, individuals with an external locus of control (ELOC) perceive their achievements or failures as caused by “outside” factors. These people typically have a passive disposition and response to their life experiences. They tend to wait for things to come or happen to them.
Locus of control and stress are often associated with each other. If a person’s locus of control is external, they are more susceptible to experiencing anxiety and depression because they think they can’t be in charge of their lives.
Let’s delve deeper with these scenarios:
You received an Employee of the Year award. Assuming you’re a person with a strong internal locus of control, there is a high chance that you will attribute that success to the amount of effort and commitment you’ve put into your work. Simply, you believe that your success directly results from your hard work.
Now, let’s assume that you have an external locus of control. You might attribute this success to external factors such as luck, timing, other people’s help, or even divine intervention.
The two scenarios above show how a person with ILOC and ELOC reacts differently to success. Now, what about when dealing with failure?
Let us use the same scenario given above.
As a person with an internal locus of control, you will more likely blame no one other than yourself. Conversely, if your locus of control is external, you’ll probably try to find someone or something to blame for your failure.
These two concepts contrast with each other quite often. However, this is not to say that a person with an internal locus of control is always on the positive side, and a person with an external locus of control is always on the negative side. There are still factors that we need to consider and variables that require more understanding.
Interestingly, several psychological studies have found that people developing a strong internal locus of control seem to do well in their daily lives. Since they are not passive, they get better jobs, make more friends, and easily achieve their life goals.
Although we have mentioned the distinction between internal and external locus of control, it still pays to know that a locus of control is generally like a scale. No one can achieve or maintain 100% internal and external locus of control. It lies somewhere in a so-called middle ground or gray area.
That said, to be more precise in distinguishing whether a person has a more dominant internal or external locus of control, here are some of the most recognizable characteristics of each:
Internal Locus of Control
External Locus of Control
There are various fool-proof ways to improve internal locus of control, but here are some of the most noteworthy ones:
Admit it or not, you may have blamed someone (or something) whenever something bad happens once or twice in your life. At first glance, it may not seem like a big deal. What you fail to realize is, not only does this mindset make you a toxic person, but being incapable of owning up to your actions also decreases your capability to improve your internal locus of control.
What can you do?
There is no shame in acknowledging and taking responsibility for your mistakes. Carefully analyze the actions and decisions you made. Then, evaluate your next actions. Carefully deduce whether your next plan will contribute to the problem by making things better or worse.
If you are at fault for any problem, apologize. Avoid practicing self-victimizing and self-pitying. Nothing good comes from playing the blame game.
When something bad happens, try not to feel helpless. Don’t get eaten up by the pressure. Rather, focus on the possible solutions. Don’t steer yourself towards the negativities. Being pessimistic is the last thing you want to become. Take time to reflect on your past experiences. Remember, a problem can be solved with not a single solution alone. Make a careful deliberation to develop the most optimal and actionable plan. That’s the time you execute your solution.
Remember the line from the 2013 animated film, The Croods? In one of the film’s most touching scenes, the father, Grug, tells her daughter, Eep, that “New is always bad.”. That is why he forbade his family to do “new” things. In the end, they took the risk. They embraced the things they were not accustomed to and eventually became happier.
Putting the fictional caveman family’s perspective and situation into a modern-day setup represents a willingness to welcome change into your life.
If growth opportunities are lying around, embrace them! Even the scary ones are worth exploring and giving a try. If you’re afraid to fail, you will miss out on tons and tons of opportunities to improve your internal locus of control. What are the things that you love to do? What are the things you want to achieve?
Do you want to stay inside your comfort zone forever? If you want to expand your knowledge, diversify your circle of friends, and increase your internal locus of control, facing newer and riskier opportunities can benefit your end-goals in the long run.
Even the most successful people fail. The only thing that sets them apart from others is they did not allow these hurdles to get in their way. Rather, they chose to drive past the pain and disappointment and move on.
Instead of dwelling on the past, you need to accept that what’s done is done. All you have to do is keep moving forward and aim for the bigger picture. Whenever bad things come crashing down on you, keep calm and look for a silver lining. Also, you can divert your emotions by practicing a healthier lifestyle through exercise, talking to your loved ones, or simply immersing yourself in things that you love.
There are times when motivations are hard to come by. Sometimes, uncertainty roots you to the ground, making it hard for you to come up with a decision. When in doubt, seeking help is the best solution.
Seek advice from your family and friends. Turn their input into your inspiration to build your confidence and help you execute your next step in achieving your core goals. Also, you can join online niche communities of people that share your interests and goals. Online communities can also serve as your haven to rebuild your motivations and composure to take on the changing tides of reality.
Productivity is one of the most requested training courses in today’s workplace, especially for young professionals.
Let’s face it: Productivity is a critical issue, but not just because of its fair share of well-documented benefits. Productivity has been shown to improve well-being. A study of 12,000 employee diary entries showed that 76% of people’s “best mood” days occurred when they were productive.
Do you agree that no amount of sitting in seminar rooms, watching zoom webinars, or downloading productivity ‘to-do’ type apps will help you?
How can developing an internal locus of control heighten your productivity if that is the case?
Recent neuroscience research shows that a key ingredient to being more productive is having a locus of control. Charles Duhigg, an expert in ILC and ELC, explains that “When people believe they are in control, they tend to work harder and push themselves more… they believe they have the freedom and the ability to make their own choices and determine what happens to them.”
This internal focus triggers a person’s desire for autonomy in their brain. The knowledge and assurance of having options and choosing how we affect an outcome are incredibly motivating.
Hacking Into Our Locus of Control
If daily learning sessions, webinars, or even the apps that claim to help reorganize your life, in general, are not helping people tap into critical thinking, then what else can be done? How can locus of control be improved?
The good news is that we can enhance our self-discipline through self-work and coaching. Several studies have shown that individuals with a remarkable internal locus of control are more successful in work and life. They enjoy better health, stronger relationships and are more predisposed to long-term personal and professional growth.
Research confirms coaching to be more effective than other forms of learning. According to the ICF, around 80% of people who receive coaching report increased self-confidence, and over 70% benefit from improved work performance, more satisfying relationships, and more effective communication skills. The former also offers more sustained and observable behavior management changes.
Unfortunately, not everyone is blessed with the resources to access a coach on demand.
Well, that was until Noa Coach entered the picture!
Noa Coach is designed to help enhance your internal locus of control. Noa Coach provides automated insights coaching by asking powerful questions to help the user heighten their locus of control. Those with a highly developed internal locus of control have greater self-awareness, better perspective, and the ability to choose the best response. Noa Goals supports the user to set and align stretch goals with individual circumstances such as desires, motivation, habit, and support.
Improving your internal locus of control may require time and commitment. Although you can boost it by yourself by learning to reassess your attitude and perception towards certain circumstances, you can also tap into modern tools to help make everything much easier.
If you don’t know where to start, perhaps Noa Coach can be of great assistance! With a trusty coach like Noa by your side, you can cultivate your locus of control to its fullest, which becomes instrumental in navigating the dynamic changes of the world around you.