Stuff happens. Life happens. There really is not much we can do about it, other than “roll with the punches.”
Or can we do something about it?
That question is at the heart of the concept of “locus of control.” Encarta, the online dictionary, defines locus as “a place where something happens.” When it comes to the locus of control it is either “out there” in the external world or it is internal, where we are largely in control. We may not be in control of all that happens in our life, but as we stress repeatedly in TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic) ™ work, we are always in control of how we choose to respond.
Locus also means focus. In the Victim Orientation, the focus is on problems that engage anxiety which leads to reacting. Those problems are almost always in the outer world – or we at least blame external factors for them. The “problem” may be a co-worker or a poor boss. It could also be addiction or compulsion that one blames on heredity or their upbringing or any other external factor.
As we adopt a Creator Orientation, our focus is on the outcomes we choose (and the outcome may be a response to that co-worker or boss, as well as a personal habit). As we focus on what we want, our desire for the outcome gives us the energy to take the next Baby Step in the process of creating. We turn inward to answer the question of what we want, which means we have chosen an internal locus of control.
All three of the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™ roles operate from an external locus of control. The Victim reacts to the Persecutor (whether a person, condition, or circumstance). When the perceived Persecutor is a person, they see the Victim as a problem. The Rescuer sees both the Victim as a problem to be fixed or taken care of and the Persecutor as someone or something to react to. All three are focused externally and tend to blame each other for the drama they are experiencing.
The Creator, Challenger and Coach roles of TED* all share an internal locus of control. A Creator knows that they can choose the outcomes they want to create and also choose their response to their life experience – be that a person, condition or circumstance. A Challenger sees the person in the Creator role as responsible for the choices they make. A Coach supports a Creator knowing that that person is ultimately capable and resourceful.
So, when “stuff happens” in life, stop and ask yourself where your locus of control resides. An external locus leads to reactivity. An internal locus opens to choice.
(If you are curious about your general locus of control, you might find this on-line assessment interesting.