Loci of Control
Daily Meditation #142 – 7/14/2022
The locus of control is a psychological construct.
The gist is that those with an internal locus tend to believe they are limited by their own potential (“Type A” personalities, for example).
External locus folk tend to believe they are awash in the sea of the fates and they have less control over what happens.
— — —
People with a strong external loci are sort of like a bird running into a window and then being mad at the window.
“Who put this window here!” they exclaim, enraged and apparently oblivious to the fact the window has been near their favorite feeder for years.
“Well, hasn’t this house — and the window — always been there?” the squirrel asks them between mouthfuls of misbegotten seeds.
“That’s true, I guess,” the bird grumbles back, “well, then, maybe the house needs to be somewhere else! Or they should move the feeder away so I don’t bonk the window!”
This attitude sharply puts on display one of the fundamental flaws in the world, today:
That the world is the one who is wrong and that the world needs to be the one who changes.
Instead of looking inwards and thinking, “Well, you know…I guess I do tend to be a bit emotional and reactive (in the case of the bird). Maybe I could’ve spent just a second to think about the situations before exploding into the window in blind fear. Or, I could pay more attention to my whereabouts and remember where the window is; protect myself from myself, so to speak.”
Silly and Monty-Pythonean though it is to think of a bird having this depth of cognition (they do not, I assure you), this is a much more Eudaimonic and Stoic attitude on the world.
Not only will having an internal locus of control give you more perception of control, but by extension, having a high level of accountability will make you a happier person.
After all — when your happiness is directly and negatively effected by the goings-on of others, it’s hard to be happy at all, if ever.
Accountability brings freedom.
Follow for daily philosophical meditations.
These are distillations from my coming book “YouDaimonia: the Ancient Philosophy of Human Flourishing.”