• Brock Briggs

Locus of Control

Locus: a particular position, point, or place

For anyone unfamiliar, the concept of "locus of control" is speaking to how someone views the world. If you have an external locus, you believe that future outcomes are determined by external factors like your environment or other people. Internal is that the outcomes in your life are determined by your actions.

This idea is abstract but you don't have to be around someone longer than a day to know where their locus is. I hear things like "My bad luck" or "I can't catch a break" regularly from external people. I'm not sure what phrases come from internal folks but I think they lean into problems and take on too much responsibility. It seems to me there are more external people and I believe it's because it's natural. Acknowledging that we are responsible for bad outcomes highlights feelings of inadequacy. No one likes to feel that. People are like current, we follow the path of least resistance. If our innate nature leads us to be external people, does resisting or changing offer any benefit?

When comparing the two, action bias seems to be one of the differences that stands out. External people tend to sort of wait for things to happen because the view is that what they do doesn't matter. Because internal people believe you have an impact on things, there is a bias towards action over inaction.

A year ago I probably would have said that everyone should strive for internal control. Writing this tonight, I'm not so sure.

We as individuals have incredible power to influence our surroundings and the future. More than most people realize. That said there are things that are beyond our control. My personal desire to strive for internal has driven me to take the blame for a lot of things that weren't my fault, just to resolve an issue. Most of the time it's easier.

If I had to guess, maybe somewhere in the middle of the two is right. The more I dig into bigger subjects like this, the more gray things are. Right and wrong aren't always black and white. Sure seems we spend a lot of time just trying to figure out where in the middle we should be. A return to the mean.

It might just be my type A or whatever you want to call it, but I prefer to live in the mindset that I can have an impact. I can make a difference. My surroundings and future will be impacted by the things that I do. To me, living a life that is random offers no incentive to improve and excel. Maybe it's my ignorance but I refuse to adopt the idea that we can't make our own way.

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