• ProjectX

Change Your Life by Changing Your Mindset

How do you feel when you are dealing with a hardship?


Do believe that you can deal with the hardship on your own or that the universe is in control of your fate?


Your answer to these questions will depend on your locus of control.


Locus of control is a person’s belief system about whether internal or external forces cause their experiences.¹ If you believe that you have control over your outcome, then you have an internal locus of control. If you believe that external forces like luck, chance, and fate are to blame, then you have an external locus of control.


Your locus of control influences your motivation to take action and how you respond to challenges.²


How does locus of control affect health and well-being?


People with an internal locus of control tend to be happier, less depressed, and less stressed.³ In addition, they feel more satisfied with life in general.⁴


Internal locus of control is tied to healthier behaviors. Studies have shown that high internal locus of control is associated with a reduced risk for common diseases, including cardiovascular disease and cancer.⁵


External locus of control is associated with low self-esteem, depression, and stress.⁶ People with an external locus of control often stay in situations where they are more stressed and feel powerless to change them.⁷


How does locus of control affect performance?


Students with a high internal locus of control have greater academic success. Studies have shown that they earn better grades and work harder.⁸


Leaders with an internal locus of control take responsibility for their actions and the performance of their team.⁹ Such leaders see the potential in their team members and even help them develop their skills.¹⁰


Developing an internal locus of control helps prevent burnout and increase effectiveness.¹¹


How can I change my locus of control?


Wellness Coach Elizabeth Scott recommends the following methods to build an internal locus of control:


Recognize that you have a choice in the matter.

By understanding that you always have the choice to change your situation, you will feel liberated and empowered.¹² Scott recommends removing phrases like, “‘I have no choice’” and “‘I can’t…’” from your vocabulary.¹³ Instead, use phrases like, “‘I choose not to,’” or, “‘I don’t like my choices, but I will…’.”¹⁴


Assess your options when you are feeling trapped.

Brainstorm a list of all possible choices as a reminder of what you can control.¹⁵ Review each option and decide the best course of action. Keep the remaining options in mind as potential alternatives.¹⁶


Be aware of your language.

If your self-talk tends to be negative, work to make it more positive.¹⁷



Endnotes

  1. Joelson, R. B. (2017, August 2). Locus of Control. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/moments-matter/201708/locus-control

  2. Cherry, K. (2019, December 7). Locus of Control and Your Life. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-locus-of-control-2795434

  3. Scott, E. (2019, October 19). Personal Resiliency Can Help Control Stress. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/secrets-to-finding-personal-control-over-stress-3144719

  4. Manichander, T. (2014). Locus of Control and Performance: Widening Applicabilities. Indian Journal of Research, 3(2). Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED557159.pdf

  5. Sturmer T, Hasselbach P, Amelang M: Personality, lifestyle, and risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer: follow-up of population based cohort. BMJ. 2006, 332 (7554): 1359–10.1136/bmj.38833.479560.80.

  6. Griffin, Dustin P., “Locus of Control and Psychological Well-Being: Separating the Measurement of Internal and External Constructs — A Pilot Study” (2014). EKU Libraries Research Award for Undergraduates. 2. http://encompass.eku.edu/ugra/2014/2014/2

  7. Manichander, T. (2014). Locus of Control and Performance: Widening Applicabilities. Indian Journal of Research, 3(2). Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED557159.pdf

  8. Ibid.

  9. Ibid.

  10. Ibid.

  11. Ibid.

  12. Scott, E. (2019, December 5). How to Develop an Internal Locus of Control. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/develop-an-internal-locus-of-control-3144943

  13. Ibid.

  14. Ibid.

  15. Ibid.

  16. Ibid.

  17. Ibid.