Seeing reality as it is: Why having an internal locus of control is important

November 20, 2008 | Comments Off on Seeing reality as it is: Why having an internal locus of control is important

One thing I find unbelievable is how far people will go to blind themselves and their children to the reality. As the old saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, by avoiding the tough questions in life, we cannot see problems and opportunities as they are. To live an authentic and fulfilling life we must be ready to face both the positive and negative in our lives.

Looking inwards, and examining our own assumptions, beliefs and self righteous positions can be difficult. In her latest book “Why Good People Do Bad Things“, New York Times bestselling author Debbie Ford described a common phenomenon which some people attribute every unfortunate incident to God, and quickly claim that “everything happens for a reason”. According to Ford, the problem of drawing conclusions too quickly is we don’t stop and reflect on our own behavior. Until we carefully examine our own motives, actions and their consequences, we can’t learn the valuable lessons these incidents are trying to teach us. While the claim that “things happen for a reason” may be valid, it is also true that we have the power to create positive outcomes in many cases.

Locus of control” is a psychological term that refers to a person’s belief about what causes the good or bad results in his or her life. For those of us who have an internal locus of control, we believe that we control ourselves and our ultimate destinies. People with an external locus of control often attribute their successes and failures to some outside forces that are not under their control. Psychologists generally accepted that people with a more internal locus of control seem to be better off.

Being nice is easy, being nice and assertive takes effort. In work and in school, we can not afford to not fight for what we deserve in the hope that people will automatically respond to our needs and wants if we are nice enough. We have to ask for it, if we are not given what we want, we must demand it, earn it, and be ready to fight for it.

Finding the delicate balance between asserting our rights and be seen as a team player is no easy task, especially for introverts or people who are not skilled in tactful negotiation. But often times these are skills that can be learned. The world is full of scheming bullies and indifferent bystanders, it is also full of generous, intelligent and decent people who are willing to help. I would argue that the line between evil and good is not so clear cut. For most of us we are both the bully and the victim, both the perpetrator and the abused, our roles change from one situation to another. Our unresolved issues, resentment and bitterness from the past could drive us to engage in behaviors that are destructive to both ourselves and the people around us. That why compassion is so important. When we suffer from pain and hopelessness, we are often too wrapped up in our own dramas to care for those around us, and we act out our anger and aggression that doesn’t do any one any good. Allow yourself to take a break, visit a day spa or a beautiful park, jog around, or eat at your favorite restaurant. Be kind to yourself and listen to what your mind wants. With a clear and open mind we are more likely to define the problems that drag us down and find solutions to them.


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