Internal External: Locus of control

Date Published: 5th of May, 2023, Last Updated: 12nd of May, 2024

Internal External: Locus of Control

What is locus of control? To understand this, we first need to understand what a 'locus' is. A locus is 'a particular position or place where something occurs or is situated.'

As conceptualized by Julian B. Rotter in 1954, a Locus of control is the degree to which people believe that they, as opposed to external forces, have control over the outcome of events in their lives. 

At Internal-External, we view the Locus of Control as having two components, the internal and external locus, respectively confirming what is inside or outside of our control, and the ability to alter where it and tasks reside in relation to eachother.

Internal locus; within your control.
External locus; outside of control.

Within the below graphics, the locus of control is showcased and distinguished between internal and external via the use of solid and wireframe brackets. Within our control is directly what we can affect, our stimulus and Inputs, and the reaction and Process. Outside of our direct control are the consequences and Outputs of the equation and our Inputs/Process.

Showcased to assist decision making, the solid and wireframe brackets we're known for convey the lines between real and imagined differences in what is within and outside of our direct and indirect control.

Locus of Control with Input and Process inside solid brackets with Output on the outside.

Figure One showcases that only our Inputs and Process are within our direct control. Output is outside of our direct control. Output cannot be 'directly' impacted by only focusing solely on the Input and Process which builds the Output, aka. we can only indirectly control our output by adjusting our input and process. 

Figure Two showcases the changing locus of control: We can create work (Input), ensure the steps are known and tested (Process), but an audience might not receive it as intended or desired (Output). We've put the right work in, executed correctly, still received incorrectly. 

input and process are within wireframe brackets and output is outside
From this, the only known way to directly affect and control the Output is to change the definition of successful Output. By viewing the Output objectively, and working back through the Process and Inputs provided, we can attempt to reverse engineer the environment which provided the desired result.


only output has the brackets around it showing that output is within control
The example changing: Although the audience might not receive it as intended or desired, what if we shifted the desired output from 'audience acceptance' (External Locus), to the 'measurement of our own output'? (Internal Locus)

From this, now the entire process has been adjusted to be 'within' our control.


Input Process and Output are within wireframe brackets showcasing that even outputs are within your locus of control

Remember, the metrics used and how you see them define what you ultimately work towards and how you work towards it. If the end-goal is of real importance to you, you must internalize key facets from remaining outside of your Locus of Control.

An internalized or externalized locus of control isn't a personality trait, you can change your locus of control by identifying what you can impact, and altering your process to ensure your goals are met. Keep going, you can do this.

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