12 Things you Always Wanted To Know About “Locus Of Control” But Were Afraid To Ask…
A series of short, sweet, and easy to follow Medium Q & A entries to enrich your life
What is this Q & A series about?
There are some things in life you really do need to know about but you just never thought about it.
Once you do think about it, either there is nothing about it on Wikipedia, or so much complicated and jargony information that you can’t even begin to explore the subject.
This is where I and my team of data geniuses come in. We all have the same addiction here at AskLewis.com; gathering, organizing, simplifying, and sharing information in a Q & A format.
About 95% of what we have to offer is boring to 95% of the reading population. But we’re not here for them anyway. We seek that 5% who care. We get ecstatic knowing that when we give them the answer to the question they couldn’t find the answer to anywhere, that they will become ecstatic.
We love making people ecstatic.
For example, did you know that Herbert Hoover’s Vice President was a Cree Indian? Really. His name was Charles Curtis, You can wiki it.
I think you get my point. So if you want to know all about 000000000 this is your (and my) lucky day.
Q. What does Locus of Control mean?
A. Locus of Control refers to the extent to which individuals believe that they can control events that affect them.
Q. Well? How much control do we have over the external environment?
A. No one can answer that question however ruthless introspection requires that one explore the extent to which one believes that one has power over the events in one’s life.
Q. Please explain?
A. If it is your belief that you can influence events and their outcomes you would be described as having an internal locus of control.
If one believes on the other hand that external forces control most of what happens to a person (including acts of God) one would be described as having an external locus of control.
This is an important question in creating life strategies for it forces one to ask “Do I believe in God? Am I an agnostic? Do I just have good luck or is it true that the smarter I am and the wiser my choices the luckier I get? If I make all the right decisions does that mean I invent my life and have it unfold exactly how I envision it? These are all questions that might appear depending on your position concerning the locus of control.
Certainly, this is a question humans have pondered for thousands of years however this concept was brought to light in academia in the 1950′s by Julian Rotter.
Q. Please into greater depth concerning the external locus of control?
Lewis. In positive psychology and within the personal development movement there is a belief that people end to be motivated to seize their destiny or perceive themselves to be victims. Both of these states tend to be acquired rather than biological or genetic in nature. When a person has a victim mentality he/she generally regards him or herself as a victim of the negative actions of others. A person with this way of thinking will think, speak and act as if this is a reality rather than something they believe to be so, It is likely that such an individual will hold onto this belief even in the absence of clear evidence.
Q. What causes one to develop a victim mentality?
Lewis. It is a behavior modeled and mirrored by observing childhood authority figures including family members, teachers, and community leaders in specific scenarios.
Q. Is there any genetic or biological basis for victim mentality?
Lewis. No, though there may be some biological or genetic basis for Neuroticism — general emotional instability or a generally enhanced tendency to experience negative emotions.
Q. How does victim mentality manifest emotionally?
Lewis. Those who see the world from a victim’s perspective often experience and express a higher frequency of negative emotional states such as anger, sadness, and fear.
Once an individual recognizes that they see the world from a victim’s perspective why would they continue to do so?
For a number of reasons including a way to justify the abuse of others, to manipulate, others, as a coping strategy, or as a means for gaining attention.
Q. I often encounter or hear of people who are aggressive or predatory and when confronted with their actions claim to be victims. Please discuss this pattern?
Lewis. This usually happens for one of two reasons.
- The predator is seeking to divert attention from what they have done by claiming the abusive actions were justified as a response to someone else’s bad behavior. (typically the person who has actually been victimized).
- The predator is seeking sympathy from others for the purpose of gaining assistance from others in continuing or expanding the abuse of the actual victim. (This is known as proxy abuse).
Q. It would seem obvious that this predator is not really a victim. Unless they are a sociopath and have no sense of right or wrong why would they do this?
Lewis. It is common for abusers to engage in victim playing. This serves two purposes 1. Self-justification and 2. justification to others.
Q. If the person believes they are doing what is right why do they need to justify their actions?
Lewis. It is connected to cognitive dissonance (CD), the presence of incongruent relations, a sense that something doesn’t fit or “feel right” among thought and understanding (cognitions).and that often results in excessive discomfort and mental stress. People are more averse to discomfort than they are attached to the seeking of pleasure. In creating an environment that supports the acting out of abusive behavior the abuser needs to create a strategy to reduce this cognitive dissonance. This is not an easy thing to do. Playing the victim is such a strategy.
Q. Is there a way to determine when or where an abuser might experience this mental discomfort and stress?
Lewis. It has been shown that individuals who hold two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, and/or values frequently are more likely to experience this state. CD may also arise within an individual who holds a belief and performs a contradictory action or reaction. For example, a person is likely to experience dissonance if he or she is addicted to alcohol and continues to drink despite believing it is unhealthy. In addition, such an individual may draw another person into their pattern who “enables” the individual’s with these patterns. These issues are common in addiction treatment and recovery scenarios.
If you have an interest in how and why I do what I do you may want to check out Harrison’s Applied Game Theory (HAGT).
HAGT is an umbrella term for thousands of systematic strategies that describe why and how individuals and organizations make decisions. This process involves more than just making wise choices. It is concerned with the effective organization of data and facts, predictive analytics, collaborative intelligence, self-love, serving others as well as ourselves and many other related ideas.
For an introduction and simple explanation in text and with a short video explanation of the basics of game theory please click below…
Author: Lewis Harrison is an Independent Scholar with a passion for knowledge, personal development, self-improvement, and problem-solving. He is the creator of Harrison’s Applied Game Theory.
I was the kid in your school that the teacher implored to “focus more”. Instead, when I was sent to the back of the room for asking too many questions, I kept myself busy by memorizing all of the Encyclopedias on the back wall.
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