Locus of Control

One of my favorite psychological concepts is Locus of Control (LOC).

So, first off ….. What is Locus of Control? Locus of control is a psychological construct that evaluates our perception of the amount of power we possess over our own lives.There are two forms of LOC:

Internal locus of control: “I control my own life”.

External locus of control: “They control my life”.

(Neill, 2006).

A person who has an internal locus of control will take the initiative in improving their own situation. This positively correlates with hard work, dedication, the ability to maintain interpersonal relationships, drive for achievement, and success in educational and career endeavors (“Locus of Control,” 2014).

A person who has an external locus of control will rely on outside forces (be it supernatural or outside help) to improve their situation. They are less likely to take responsibility for their actions and more likely to blame others for their failures.

Being internal or external, of course, influences self-efficacy (belief in one’s of ability to achieve a goal), self-esteem (emotion-based evaluation of one’s own worth), self-confidence (confidence in one’s own abilities), and overall self-concept (collective perception of oneself) because LOC is closely related to the way we view ourselves and way we perceive reality.

Issues with External Locus of Control

Externalization does not provoke change instead it hinders our ability to find solutions to the issues we face. Rather than actively attempting to resolve the issue people who externalize spend more time playing the “blame game” which causes the issue to remain.

Issues with Internal Locus of Control

Research shows that it is better to internalize because it motivates the individual to change their lives (Neill, 2006). However, while it is important to take initiative in the improvement of our own life and be responsible for our own behavior and actions, it should be noted that there are some things that are out of our control. Having an Internal Locus of Control is supposed to improve interpersonal relationships; however, when we are overly critical of ourselves based on situations that cannot be helped it causes us stress which can have a negative impact on interpersonal relationships . It is important to assess the situation before internalizing it.

Finding a Healthy Balance

While internalizing an issue in order to actively search for a solution might seem plausible we must be aware of situations that cannot be resolved through internalization. Sometimes it is better to externalize an issue that is out of our realm of control in order to figure a way around it.


So…. which are you? Are you more external or internal? Click here



Neill, John. 2006. “What is Locus of Control?” Wilderdom. Retrieved from:

“Locus of Control: Are you in charge of your destiny?” 2014. Mind Tools. Retrieved from:

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