Locus of Control (English Version)

Locus of control is a psychological term, developed by J.B. Rotter and later defined by H.M. Lefcourt, to establish where people put the responsibility of what happens to them, with themselves or outside themselves. Locus of control is an important part of personality studies and has two extreme positions:

  • Internal Locus of Control: people believe that they themselves are solely responsible for whatever happens to them. Results and failures are directly related to behavior, character, or traits.
  • External Locus of Control: people believe that external factors, i.e. fate, karma, luck, social position, God or other people, are responsible for whatever happens to them.

Well-balanced individuals remain somewhere in the middle. They know that a lot of what happens to them is more or less under their control, but not everything. People do tend to lean to either the internal or the external side.

People with higher internal locus of control tend to belief that luck/success can be manipulated and will be influenced to a high degree by this attitude. In a positive sense, these people are self-confident and self-possessed, in extreme cases with delusions of grandeur, however, when they fail they tend to doubt themselves to the point where their negativity can lead to a bad self-image and depression.

People with higher external locus of control tend to belief that luck/success is influenced mainly by external factors and cannot be manipulated. In a positive sense these people are phlegmatic and accept failure gracefully, because they feel they are not at fault. In a negative sense their attitude may lead to nihilism and a lack of focus.

To keep a balanced locus of control, it’s advisable to unite the positive sides of both attitudes in yourself. To acquire confidence it’s important that you can influence your own success, but if success remains out of reach, it’s important to re-evaluate without putting the blame of failure solely by yourself and seek a new strategy. To avoid wallowing in frustration and self-pity and promote a more flegmatic attitude, you need to accept that you’ll never be able to please everyone and that you do what you can to the best of your abilities.

In short: do what you can to succeed in your goals, but don’t punish yourself if, despite your efforts, things don’t happen the way you imagined them to happen.


7 reacties on “Locus of Control (English Version)”

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  4. Martyn van Halm schreef:

    Thanks for the pingback. Interesting article!

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