I really like this collection of definitions. I spend most of my time as an educator and as a human being thinking about these things. In addition, I’ve been listening to Charles Duhigg’s latest book, “Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business,” and it’s been making me think more about “locus of control.” So I started researching more about it. I remember reading a lot about it when I was in graduate school both times. As I listened to Duhigg talk about locus of control, it made me curious about how it connects to mindfulness. Well lucky me! I have ability to research on Google, and I found a Thesis from my Alma Mater, Pacific University, that had these great definitions right in it.
Mindfulness involves maintaining one’s attention to the present moment in a nonjudgmental manner.
Self-compassion involves extending kindness and understanding to oneself during times of pain or adversity.
Locus of control refers to the extent to which a person perceives occurrences in one’s life to be within his or her own control.
Self-efficacy refers to the extent to which a person believes that he or she is capable of accomplishing a given task.
-St. James, Leland. “Mindfulness, Self-Compassion, Self-Efficacy, and Locus of Control: Examining Relationships between Four Distinct but Theoretically Related Concepts.” Pacific University MA Thesis, 7.23.10
St. James talked a lot about how the research he did looked at how these concepts overlap. The thing that gets me is that our locus of control is kind of the first thing to focus on. If we have an external vs. internal locus of control, we live thinking that we are out of control of our decisions, that destiny is predetermined, that we are useless to chance. If we think we have no control, well friends–we know this answer now don’t we? If we think we don’t have any, we don’t have any.
Curious to take a quiz to see where you fall on the continuum of locus of control? Here’s just one of the many many quizzes you can find online. This one tabulates it for you, but you can find many that you print out as well. ALSO, we can increase our internal locus of control by practicing mindfulness. So if you find that you have an externally focused locus of control, you can try to change it or support yourself to think from a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset. The growth mindset terms are the new terms, as far as I can tell, for internal vs. external locus of control.
BLAH BLAH, it’s all psychological mumbo jumbo to you maybe. But to nerdy me, this is good stuff.