Locus of Control: Is it a matter of Luck or Labor?


It's Almost St. Patrick's Day! 

There are several things that may come up for you when thinking about St. Patrick's Day: leprechauns, Ireland, or pots of gold. One of the things I think about when it comes to St. Patrick's day is LUCK

Many people have different opinions about luck. Some people do not believe in it all, others are completely devoted to the concept of luck, and some fall somewhere in the continuum. 

The topic of luck makes me think about one concept I am learning in graduate school. We are reading a textbook called Counseling the Culturally Diverse*. The concept I am learning is called locus of control. The idea is that there are two different dimensions within locus of control: internal and external. 

Internal locus of control is referring more to the idea that you create your own success- the outcomes of life are due to your actions (I am referring to this mindset as LABOR). 

External locus of control is focused more on the idea that there are external forces that influence your life that create the result of your life (I am referring to this mindset as LUCK). 

So which one is superior? Neither? Both? Well... this depends. Many people who are a part of American culture would say internal locus of control is superior. There is an inherent concept of individualism within American culture that is related to internal focus of control. The concept often placed on people in this culture is that you work for what you get. 

While people who may have a more collectivistic concept may strongly relate to external focus of control. They may see the value of believing in a Higher Power or the power of the universe. I personally believe that both have an influence in my own life: I have control over certain things, but I cannot control everything. I am not saying that this is what everyone else should believe, but this is what I experience in my own life. 

What do you think? Do you have a more internal or external locus of control? No matter what your background is or how you relate to this I concept, I know you are going to do great things!

* Sue, D.W., & Sue, D. (2019). Counseling the culturally diverse: Theory and practice (8th ed.) New York: Wiley.

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