26 Jan Who’s in Control Here?
Learn how developing an Internal Locus of Control can improve your life, from stress management to achieving goals. Gain ILOC through being willing and facing obstacles. Start your journey towards resilience and taking control of your life today.
“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up, I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today, I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.”
— Kevyn Aucoin
This past year, I’ve been asked about the purpose of my weekly newsletter. I will admit that it’s been a formidable undertaking to write articles for this newsletter every week without fail—no matter what’s happening in my life.
So, to tell you the truth, my work, everything I do at ACE, in my private coaching practice, and the digital course The Energy of Money, is geared toward you gaining an Internal Locus of Control.
Internal / External Locus of Control
Psychologist Julian B. Rotter developed the theory of Internal/External Locus of Control in 1954. People with Internal Locus of Control ( ILOC) know they are the authors of their own life experiences. They look for solutions to situations and circumstances that face them and aren’t afraid to see how they may have contributed to making them happen. In other words, they are resilient.
The ILOC paradigm is best expressed in the quote from Kevyn Aucoin above. We have the power to choose how we experience life.
Research has found that those with Internal Locus of Control:
Those with External Locus of Control (ELOC) have the opposite life experience. They feel at the mercy of life’s difficulties and often look outside of themselves, blaming others for what they are going through. A typical ELOC response to life’s circumstances is, “It’s not my fault! It is a reactive, rather than resilient, response.
How to gain Internal Locus of Control
Let’s go back to one of the first articles I wrote in 2022 on how to begin the journey to transform your life. It’s called Being Willing. The Dag Hammarskjold quote best captures this principle:
“For all that has been, I say “thank you,” and for all that is yet to be, I say “yes.”
Being willing is your capacity to say “yes,” no matter what happens. For example, you can be willing:
- To do what you don’t want to do.
- To do what you think you can’t do.
- To do what you’re sure will be too hard to do.
When you are willing, you tap into a power that you possess to transcend your doubts, worries, and fears. The journey to discover your true strength begins with three words: “I am willing.” Almost everyone you consider to be heroic had times when they were faced with an obstacle to their progress. Obstacles are a natural part of physical reality. In fact, you and I would become bored if we never had to face an obstacle to our progress!
If you don’t think you’d be bored without obstacles, see if you can relate to the scenario below:
Alex: I saw an old “Twilight” television episode where this gambler had lost everything and even cheated his friends out of their own money to help feed his gambling addiction. He dies and goes to Hell, where he meets up with the Devil, who welcomes and shows him to a room where he’ll be forever. It’s a room full of ways to gamble. The gambler smiles and asks: “This is Heaven, not Hell. I’m thrilled to be here!”
“Ah,” says the Devil, “there’s only one catch: you’ll never, ever, lose, no matter what you do. The craps table, 21 card games, and slots are all yours. Forever. And you’ll always win.
“Fabulous,” says the guy. “I tell you, this is Heaven.” The Devil laughs and leaves. So, he plays slots and wins every time. Craps, the same thing. Whatever he plays at, he wins. After a few moments, he starts to panic. There’s no fun in winning each time. The thrill of possibly losing is gone! He literally cannot gamble now. And he’s trapped there forever!
The joy of life lies in the possibility of losing! Think about it for yourself.
What if you could always have whatever you wanted just by wishing for it? No obstacles for you to learn from. No need to stretch yourself and grow. Wouldn’t you get bored in a day or two?
Obstacles exist for us to become resilient to the situations and circumstances that naturally occur in our life. And resilience, the essence of ILOC, begins when you are willing to encounter these obstacles!
So: is there a situation or circumstance you’ve neglected to face? Once that’s been there for at least one or two months, just waiting for you? Here’s what to do:
- Describe what it is in as much detail as possible.
- Ask yourself: “Am I willing to take the smallest step first to deal with this situation?”
- If you hear a resounding “No” in your head, ask yourself: “Am I willing to be willing?” You’ll usually hear “Yes” coming from the area of your heart.
- Ask the question from Step 2 again. If there’s a “Yes,” proceed to create a small, sweet step to face that obstacle.
- If the answer is “No,” then put it aside for a few days and start over with this situation. It could be that you need some support from a friend or family member to look more clearly at the nature of this obstacle. For example, do you need someone to be with you as you promise one small, sweet step?
If you practice “I am willing” when facing an obstacle or situation, you are going a long way to creating your ILOC!