“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” — Carl Jung
In order to be successful, you have to own your success. Instead of taking responsibility for your actions and cultivating helpful habits to reach goals, many people blame others and allow excuses to be the blockade between them and success. Owning your success may seem rather straightforward, yet it’s not a common practice that people consistently engage in. So how do you own your success? Let’s take a look:
In 1954, psychologist Julian Rotter coined the term “locus of control” referring to a person’s belief regarding the amount of control an individual has over their own life. Within the locus of control, there are two options: internal and external. An internal locus of control means the person believes that he or she has control over their own life. An external locus of control indicates that the person believes that chance or fate dictates their life, rather than having control over their own life. A popular example to illustrate locus of control is a student with poor exam results. With an internal locus of control, the student believes that they did not study enough, did not focus enough in class, or another reason regarding their own abilities and decisions led to the poor exam score. Those with an external locus of control claim that the educator has a strong dislike for the student, and provided the student with a bad grade as a result. Another example of an external locus of control would be to blame the teacher for writing the exam in a confusing manner, or to claim the teacher did not cover the material properly.
Research has shown those with an internal locus of control are more likely to succeed. Taking what we already know about an internal locus of control, this makes sense. Success requires a specific set of consistent actions, behaviors, beliefs, and habits. In order to have the necessary elements for success, you have to take control of your life and be responsible for how you interact with the world around you. Similar to my previous posts about optimism, having an internal locus of control has it’s own set of benefits, including:
– Less likely to be depressed.
– Better academic performance
– Being a better problem solver
So in addition to getting closer to success, you also get a bunch of other bonuses! How cool is that? It’s like life is rewarding you for doing well. So how do you gain an internal locus of control?
1) Start with something simple.
For example, if you would like to improve your level of fitness, try just going for a walk or doing a few pushups. While you may not feel a vast difference in fitness from that activity, you have taken control of your actions and performed a physical activity.
2) Expand your practice.
Once the simple activity gets easier, gradually increase your commitment to the activity which extends the amount of control you are taking in your life. For example, once it becomes easy to do a few pushups, start increasing the number of pushups you do each day. As you see your physical results, you recognize how your actions and habits shape your life. This gives you the proof you need to enforce your mindset about the power of an internal locus of control.
3) Admit when you make a mistake or did something wrong.
We are all humans, and we all make mistakes. By taking responsibility for these mistakes, we are accepting control over our life for both the good and bad. When you take responsibility for mistakes, you can also learn from them and improve.
4) Ask others to help.
Talk to a trusted friend to help you cultivate an internal locus of control. Often times, we don’t recognize the way we think or act until we are able to examine the thought or action from a different perspective. Friends are good at helping because they can help provide the fresh perspective you need.
Maintain a balance
Having an internal locus of control is important, but having a balance is important as well. There are many things we can control in life, but there are also things we can’t control in life. For events we can’t control, we can control how we react to the situation and choose an optimistic and positive mainframe that helps us rather than harms us. Even with an internal locus of control, it is important to remember that we are still humans, and we still make mistakes. As long as you are making progress, you are on your way to success.
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