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.

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