Locus of Control (LOC) is a psychological concept of personality that refers to what we believe is control of our lives. LOC is a spectrum with one end being external factors like luck and fate and the other end being internal factors such as personal choices and effort. Where a person falls on the LOC spectrum is believed to tell a lot about the person's character and how he/she sees life. Let's look at a real life example.
A few years ago I set out on a weight loss journey and was able to lose close to 50 lbs. I kept the weight off for about three years but over the past two years I've gained most of it back. If I fall on the external end of the LOC spectrum I blame my co-workers for bringing treats to work, my family for my genetic makeup, and the high cost of healthy foods and gym membership for my weight gain. If I fall on the internal end of the LOC spectrum I attribute my weight gain to my own poor food choices and not exercising enough. My position on the LOC spectrum determines what I believe to be the cause of my dilemma and what measures must be taken to resolve it. On the external end I am a victim of circumstances so there is little I can do to control the situation; on the internal end I am in full control of the entire situation and no one else has influence.
In reality we fall somewhere in between the two ends of the spectrum and it is possible for us to fall on different places on the spectrum for different situations. I may feel I am in total control over my weight loss but out of control over my finances. Or I may feel more in control over my relationships than my career, or my personal development than my spiritual growth, or vice versa. Ultimately, like everything, LOC is a function of our own beliefs; the thoughts that we maintain in our daily lives. And we know that we CAN change our thinking so, in essence, we can change our LOC as well. So take a moment and think to yourself...
Who's at the wheel?
Romaine A. Wright