The Locus of Control: How to defeat low motivation and procastination?

Laziness, Procrastination, Lack of energy or motivation are some of the problems we all are suffering from and we tend to look for the answer everywhere desperately. We look all around us, we searched on the internet, and we ask others.

But what if the reason behind this is much more internal than you think? Your perception about low motivation, lack of energy, or procrastination could be completely altered after knowing about "The Locus of Control".


The Locus of control

The locus of control is, a psychological term, defined as how strongly people believe they have control over the situation affecting their lives.

There are two types of locus of control, one is external locus of control while another one is internal locus of control. The external locus of control refers to those people who take no responsibility for themselves for their actions at all and always tend to blame other things for their failure while, completely contrasting, on the other hand, internal locus of control refers to those people who take responsibility for their actions and work accordingly.

Difference between external and internal locus of control


Example of Locus of Control

Professor Claudia M. Mueller conducted a study at Columbia University in 1998. She called a bunch of fifth-graders and divided them into two groups, then they were asked to solve a very difficult puzzle or quiz.

Irrespective of their results, then each and every one of them was appreciated and were told they did a great job. But one group was told they did it because of their hard work and effort while the other group was told that they did this because they were smart and intelligent.

After a short break they were again given puzzles but this time there were three types of puzzles easy one, one with mediocre difficulty, and the hard one. After this, the second phase of the experiment, what the researchers found was really interesting. 

They found the childer who were told they were able to solve the puzzle earlier because they were smart, gave most of their time solving the easier puzzles without giving much their effort not only this they also gave up soon and got really bored and quit.

While on the other hand the children who were told that they were able to solve the puzzle earlier because of their hard work and effort spent most of their time on harder puzzles and they work very energetically and passionately, irrespective of whether they could solve it or not, most of them really enjoyed the drill.



External Locus of Control

So the researchers found something really mind-blowing in this experiment. They saw the children who were told they were smart spent less time trying or giving effort and trying to solve the easier problem only because they have the external locus of control.

When they were told they were smart they saw themselves as gifted. They think they were able to complete these tasks because they were special and not because of their work so they spend less time trying, which is, in turn, is a sign of low motivation or energy.

The sole reason for this is they thought they could solve problems because they are smart, and they couldn't help, if their ability is the key then if the problem seems tough then it means it requires much more intelligence than what they have. So instead of just keep trying, they gave up.



Internal Locus of Control

While on the other hand, the children who were told that they complete the puzzle because of their hard work, started seeing the output strongly because of their effort. They began to see such puzzles and problems as challenges.

They think that they were able to complete the puzzle as they worked hard and put in the effort needed. This mindset gave them a strong will to work as for them, now, the output is directly proportional to the effort, which is in fact a sign of a high level of motivation and energy.

Example of locus of control



Application of Locus of Control and How can we change it?

The problem faced by the kids in the experiment above is exactly what's happening with us in one way or another. Every time a person came across a problem he can do one of two things either he can blame anything or everything, or he can take responsibility for his action and work.

The mindset is a very crucial thing in life. If you have the external locus of control try to focus on the effort you have put on the task rather than the task itself and learn to appreciate the effort you put into the work and the amount of effort you put into it.

Suppose if you want to type faster, you surf the internet for some tips like keep your elbow relaxed, both of your feet should be on the ground, you should practice more often, etc., then you apply these tips and found your type speed increased from twenty words per minute to, let's say, twenty-five words per minute. Here, instead of thinking about how great you have become, think about how excellent effort you have put in learning how to type. This simple thought or mindset can help you set out of the external locus of control and step in the internal.


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