Internal Vs External Locus of Control

What is meant by Locus of Control? What are the Types and Characteristics of each? What are its Advantages and Disadvantages?

Every individual is responsible for their lives as they become an adult. Some of them take direct responsibility, while others blame others. Everything depends on the psychological state of mind of people like how they react and respond. One such situation is, the locus of control, and today you will come to know more about their types, and characteristics. You will also evaluate between internal vs external locus of control.

1. Defining Locus of Control

The amount of control a person feels he has over the situations and circumstances, happening in his life is known as the locus of control. It includes all the things that affect his life and how he reacts and responds. Also, the decisions taken are against the situation or readily accepted.

It means the belief system and taking responsibility or blaming the outside factors for situations, like destiny or fate. Depending upon the thinking and system of response, the locus of control is divided into the internal and external locus of control. Also understanding internal vs external locus of control will give you an idea of how you want to shape your life accordingly. (See What is Priming Theory?)

2. Types of Locus of Control

There are two types, external and internal locus of control. 

  • External locus of control means believing that external factors are affecting life, decision, and situations. It means that a person believes in fate and destiny. He thinks that those things are influencing and controlling his life, but he has no control of his own. He feels like no matter how hard he tries it is already written in his destiny and humans have no power to change that. For example, the character of Nobita from Doraemon shows an external locus of control because, every time he gets zero marks in his test, he considers it his fate. In internal vs external locus of control, he has an external one because he never puts enough effort but still says that it is his fate only.  (Also read Different Types of BPD)
  • Internal locus of control means having a belief system about being responsible for the action and reactions happening in life. In internal vs external locus of control, the former tells that a person knows that they are responsible for their success and failure. They believe their efforts and belief system will help them move further to achieve success. And if they fail in something, then it was their lack of effort that gave out this result. For example, the character of Kazama from the cartoon Shin Chan has an internal locus of control because he puts effort into doing his homework and taking out time for some sports too. He believes that he can become better with his effort. (Also read Psychology Behind Vicarious Embarrassment)

3. People with External Locus of Control Characteristics

A person with an External Locus of Control will have:

  • Low self-confidence in themselves and the efforts they put into something. They are so low self-esteemed that someone else’s opinion or comment influences them to a large extent.
  • They are never ready to take responsibility for the result or outcomes of their work. They have a habit of blaming others, their situations, fate, destiny, and every possible thing.
  • They have a mindset that, if things are meant to be, they will happen themselves. And if not then, no matter how much effort they put in nothing is going to change. And because of this mindset, they do not believe in hard work. You can check out the Woes of the Bored and Lonely Mind.
  • In internal vs external locus of control, if people with external locus get success in anything they do, they will give credit to their fate or situation, and due to this, they fail to realize their potential.
  • Such people feel helpless all the time because they have a strong belief in some unforeseen forces and situations. They are always depressed because of the fear of unforeseen circumstances, and they lack the confidence to tackle them. (Also read Am I Passive Aggressive?)

4. Advantages of External Locus of Control

Apart from making a person lazy, and superstitious, the external locus had some the advantages too, as mentioned below:

  • Their attitude of letting things go and not holding themselves responsible for their failure keeps them stress-free.
  • They seem to be happy always because of low expectations and make people around them happy too.
  • They can be a good teammate as they do not have the habit of proving their worth and becoming leaders themselves.

5. Disadvantages of External Locus of Control

  • Such a person will always blame others, and it will hamper their relationships.
  • They give up on things very easily and quickly without giving it a second try.
  • They can be a liability to the companies they work for. Because they will not complete their tasks effectively, nor will they worry about the company’s image. (See 7 Steps For Managing Difficult Employees)

6. People with Internal Locus of Control Characteristics

  • While discussing internal vs external locus of control, you should understand that internal control is more important in a long run. These people readily take responsibility for the action and are ready to take the necessary steps in completing a task assigned to them. The only condition is that they want to work as per their will.
  • They are ready to take up any challenge that comes their way. They have confidence in their abilities.
  • People with an internal locus of control tend to be more successful in their careers because they put more effort in eagerly doing things assigned to them and worry less about the outcomes and results.
  • These people enjoy good physical and mental health too. Therefore they develop a tendency to become self-reliant and independent. 
  • A common characteristic of people with internal locus is they try their best in making things work in their favor. It gives them a strong belief that they can get maximum good outcomes, and the bad result, can be minimized. (See How to Be Loved By Everyone?)

7. Advantages of Internal Locus of Control

  • These people will work hard and achieve the desired success instead, of waiting for fate to bring success to their doorstep. For example, If they want a job, they will look for it and try every possible method instead of waiting for their fate to change and the offer letter coming magically to their mailbox. 
  • They learn from their mistakes and avoid repeating them. It makes them fast learners and can take necessary action according to the situation.
  • They have good cognitive abilities and are least affected by peer pressure. Instead, they will do what they think is best to reach their goal without giving up. 

8. Disadvantages of Internal Locus of Control

  • These people talk to the point, and because of this, they are misunderstood as arrogant. (See 7 Signs That You Talk Too Much)
  • They are the kind of person who loves perfection in everything, it makes them not-so-good teammates. They always like to do things all by themselves and cannot handle delegation of authority and responsibilities with others.

So you have learned about internal vs external locus of control. You also came to know about their characteristics and learned about how this psychological factor affects our life. (Also read Significance of CBT Anger Management Therapy)

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