“If there is anything in your life that you don’t currently have right now, it’s because of who you are and how you think.” -Eric Thomas, Ph.D.
There is nothing quite like a good verbal slap in the face from world renown speaker, educator, and pastor Dr. Eric Thomas, to wake you up and get your fire blazing. I would venture to believe you experienced one of the following reactions to Eric’s quote above:
Now that I say that, the purpose of this article is not to argue the merits of Eric’s statement above, but rather prime you for reflection on how you are motivated. If you reacted with intrigue or conviction, chances are you possess an internal locus of control. If you were quick to dismiss Eric, you may lean towards the external end of the spectrum.
In psychology, the locus of control is a foundational element of motivation. “Everyone either has an internal locus of control, which means that they believe that they control their own fate or an external locus of control, which means that they think things just happen to them and they’re powerless.” Rather than black and white, the locus of control should be viewed as a spectrum. With proper practice, affirmation, and reinforcement anyone is able to move from external to internal, overcome fear and failure, and accomplish their goals.
In life, you have 100 percent control over what you do, the way you feel and how you react to things. Knowledge of the locus of control will not only empower your life, it will arm you with tools and increased awareness to help others.
Make It Your Habit
There are few things more addictive and rewarding than taking control of your life. Whether you acknowledge it or not, the urge to take control dwells within all of us. For example, at one point or another we have all been stuck in gridlock traffic with somewhere we needed to be. Helplessly sandwiched between two other vehicles and racking our brain for alternatives routes to our destination. You may have been well aware that sitting through the freeway traffic would still be the fastest route. Regardless, you had to fight the urge to not take the next exit and venture through the backroads. There is an addictive emotional pleasure that comes with controlling a situation. Make it habit, taking control of your life is inspiring and builds confidence.
Imagine this, simply how we communicate and affirm others feeds their paradigm on motivation. For example, numerous experiments have shown that when teachers tell their students, “You did a really good job on that test because you’re really smart,” it reinforces their external locus of control because most people don’t believe they have any influence over how smart they naturally are. A more empowering way for the teacher to deliver that praise would be, “You did a really good job on that test, you must have worked really hard.” This response triggers and reinforces the student’s internal locus of control because everyone chooses how hard they work. Results of the experiments have shown that self-motivation directly relies on believing we are in control.[i]
Now, take this a step further. How many times have you heard compliments that sound something like this:
“Zack is so inspiring, he is a born leader”
“Sarah is a natural athlete, she learns so fast”
“Chris is very smart, it runs in his family”
True, we all are blessed with unique talents and gifts, but do you see the pattern here? These are all nice compliments, but they undermine each individual’s effort and reinforce an external locus of control. The thought that we are powerless, and things just happen to us or for us. This mindset is toxic and will do nothing but hold you back.
You Are in Control
Take a minute to reflect. Where are you at in life? What have you accomplished to get there? Where do you want to be? What will it require of you? You possess all the knowledge, skills, and ability to begin working towards accomplishing your goals, now.
Too often, people describe opportunity as if it’s a doorway that just miraculously opens for some and unfortunately not others. This attitude couldn’t be more self-loathing and appalling. Distance yourself from this poisonous mindset.
It’s your own unrelenting purist of your goals that creates every opportunity. It’s your resilient mental fortitude and tenacious drive that demolishes obstacles, turns them to fuel, and powers you to the next level. You are the champion of your destiny. You are in control.
Now, go out and make it happen!
Co-Founder and CFO, RAM
[i] Dubner, Stephen J., and Arwa Gunja. “How to Be More Productive.” Freakonomics, freakonomics.com/podcast/how-to-be-more-productive/