Locus of control is the amount of responsibility and accountability that people have for their own actions and success in their lives (Bauer, 2010, p.58). Whereas many people believe that they are constantly the victim of bad luck and circumstances outside of their control, others believe that they are in complete control of their own future. People that believe that they control their own lives have an internal locus of control. People that have life events happen to them by external forces or luck have an external locus of control (Bauer, 2010, p.58). Upon taking the Locus of Control & Attributional Style Test, I scored an 87% in success orientation, indicating that I believe that my success is the result of my own skills, intelligence, and personality, and that I rarely attribute it to external forces (Queendom, n.d.).
Internal Locus of Control
Having an internal locus of control means that a person feels and believes that “they control their own destiny” and they are ultimately in control of their future and responsible for their actions and outcomes (Bauer, 2010, p.58). This mindset is akin to extreme ownership, popularized by the Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, where it is important to take full responsibility for the things that happen in our lives and not blame anyone else (Fearless Motivation, 2017). People with an internal locus of control act in ways that will make them more successful, be more motivated, and have more positive experiences (Bauer, 2010, p.58).
External Locus of Control
Having an external locus of control means that a person and believes that things happen to them because of luck, destiny, higher powers, other people, the government, or other external factors (Bauer, 2010, p.58). People with an external locus of control may have a victim mentality. They may look for attention or sympathy while believing that they are helpless and blaming others for their fate (Michael, n.d.). People with an external locus of control feel out of control of their lives, so are often depressed and feel more negative (Baurer, 2010, p.58). They are often driven by pessimism, fear, and anger (Michael, n.d.).
Locus of Control Personality Test
Sure, some days it seems like nothing can go right. Everyone has those days when it seems like, despite the best laid plans and efforts, everything goes wrong. I am no exception. Most days, though, I understand that I am responsible for my own actions and I am in control of myself. I cannot control what other people do, but I do not need to. I only need to take responsibility of the things that I do control and influence.
There are several personality tests on the Internet to determine personality types and emotional intelligence. Several tests are available on Queendom. Queendom’s Locus of Control & Attributional Style Test is one of them, which comes up with a success orientation score based on several answers. My success orientation score was 87, indicating that I have an “internal attribution style when it comes to success” and that I believe that my successes are a result of my “skills, intelligence, nice personality, etc.” rather than external forces (Queendom, n.d.). This indicates that I primarily have an internal locus of control.
The internal locus of control is superior to the external locus of control. People are more positive and more successful when they understand that nobody is to blame for their lives beyond themselves, and that they are responsible for their own actions and success. People with an external locus of control largely feel that they are dependent upon circumstances. It is hard to be successful when people are not responsible for themselves.
Bauer, T., Ergodan, B. (2010). Organizational Behavior, Version 1.1. Licensed under Creative Commons. Flat World Knowledge.
Fearless Motivation. (2017). The Key to Taking Charge of Your Life – Locus of Control. Retrieved from https://www.fearlessmotivation.com/2017/12/27/locus-control/
Michael, J. (n.d.). Victim Mentality Stands in the Way of Accountability. Retrieved from https://www.jodymichael.com/blog/victim-mentality-stands-in-the-way-of-accountability/
Queendom. (n.d.). Locus of Control & Attributional Style Test. Retrieved from https://www.queendom.com/tests/access_page/index.htm?idRegTest=704