Monthly Archives: June 2010

Who is responsible?

In the 1960s, Julian Rotter, Jewish -American Psychologist, started looking at how “successful” people think. He wondered what makes one equally talented _______ (artist, musician, author, code writer, bean counter) stand out over another? This was a step away from looking at how to cure people who are sick and a step toward looking at why we all don’t suffer from the many and varied mental illnesses. He looked at behavior + thoughts or what I like to call ATTITUDE.

The term “Locus of Control” can be defined as who is responsible for my life. Other people or God or Luck determine fate=External Locus of Control. You or Hard Work or Can Do Attitude determine fate= Internal Locus of Control.

Rotter discovered that successful, contented people tended to have a stronger Internal Locus of Control. This internalized responsibility also made them more adaptable and responsive to change.

Rotter is now famous for the Rotter scale, which is usually determined by a 20 question test that is composed of two paired statements (sort of) similar to the ones below:

a. Many of the unhappy things in people’s lives are partly due to bad luck.

b. People’s misfortunes result from the mistakes they make.


a. There are certain people who are just no good.

b. There is some good in everybody.

Now, most of us might fall somewhere in between these extreme statements (like c. Success can be a combination of hard work and good timing ), but the test is a good way to see where people are on the scale between External and Internal Locus of Control.

How does one develop a stronger Internal Locus of Control? I’m glad you asked. First, by setting small goals and experimenting to see if the outcome is different. Another way is by looking at one’s self-talk; ‘faulty thinking’ or how we talk to ourselves can affect our sense of power or determination.

So, the answer to our quiz today is You.

welcome to my first post…

Let’s get the ball rolling with words from Pema Chodron

There is a teaching, a very advanced teaching which people always perk up when they hear which says, The more neurosis, the more wisdom. People like this because they know they have a lot of neurosis. But no one can really understand this at first hearing because it doesn’t ever feel like ‘the more neurosis, the more wisdom.’ It actually feels like ‘the more neurosis, the more despair.’ But what I have found in working with this is that if you are all caught up and it occurs to you to just open, there is so much energy which is available to wake up —there is so much more energy available at this time.

Often you feel that you cannot let go. But if you have the courage to just experiment with abruptly opening at this time, there is enormous ability to have the mind open completely because there is so much energy. Of course the energy is pregnant with wanting to close right back down into the discursiveness or the mood that you are in. But you do get ‘the most for your money,’ the most for your moment at this time when you are all caught up. You get the most for your instant —you are propelled further than you would otherwise go on the energy which pushes you further. The hardest time to do this practice is also the most powerful time to do the practice.

Pema Chodron

This is it, the reason why psychotherapy “works” when it does, when people are ready to harness that energy that brought them to the point of seeking a change, a different way from their old stand-bys. Pema is saying that at some point you have enough problems or a big enough problem that gives you enough motivation. The gift is actually the problem, because before then we were just getting by, suffering perhaps or just coping. That small hole in the boat becomes a large enough hole that forces us to fix the boat, get a new boat, or maybe learn to swim.