Which are you adopting?
I spent years and years waiting for something and someone to make me feel better and in the meantime, I would just carry on doing the destructive behaviours I was doing. Yet It was ok as at some point I believed that something would happen to me and I would get better!
But this never happened……..
This attitude I had is known as having an External Locus of Control (ELOC). It’s when we think our lives are shaped by things outside of us, that the world has the power to ‘make us’feel things. This belief influences us in any number of ways, both large and small.
How many of you have sat and hoped for something to happen to improve your situation, or even negotiated with the universe that if things went a particular way you’d do something in return?
That’s all ELOC!
We all need to work on becoming more ILOC- Internal Locus of Control.This stands for a mindset where the holder takes responsibility for what happens. It’s the difference between somebody saying; “something should be done”and someone saying; “I’m going to do it”.
Someone operating from ILOC can’t have a bad day because of the actions of others or as a result of what the world throws at them.
An ILOC mindset puts you back in the driving seat. Nobody can take your power, you can only give it away.
Society tends to breed an ELOC perspective. It makes us look outside of ourselves for solutions to things- usually at a price. Life will always throw obstacles in the way of success. It’s how you respond to obstacles that makes the difference.
Taking action is the mantra that will keep you moving
In any situation where you have a choice or where life is throwing you a curve ball, if you learn to ask yourself; “what is it I can do here?”it opens up the possibility of action. There is nearly always something you can do. Anything more than nothing is something.
SELF- QUESTION 1- WHAT IS IT I CAN DO HERE?
Think of your life as having 2 circles:
1. Circle of influence- contains the things you can do something about
2. Circle of concern- full of the things that bother you that you can’t directly influence
We can waste a lot of time and thought bouncing around in the circle of concern. It tends to increase our anxiety levels. Train yourself to take action about the things within your circle of influence. Let go of the things in your circle of concern. This will massively increase your ability to stay centred.
Whenever you are feeling overwhelmed by life or you face a particular challenge, draw out these circles and write in them the things that are on your mind. See where each challenge, worry or concern belongs.
1. Do what you can about whatever is in your influence
2. Accept those things you can’t have an effect on and leave them behind.
The key point is to be in charge of what you decide can be done.
This is the heart of ILOC.
1. If a thing can be done by you, do it.
2. If it can be done by someone else, get them to do it
3. If nobody can do anything about it, accept it, let it go and move on.
All three actions you’re taking, rather than passively hoping someone else will do the solving for you.
When the going gets tough
Imagine something going wrong in your day. Ask yourself these questions:
· How is this about the situation and not about you?
· Is how I’m interpreting this situation true?
· Is a bad interpretation the only possible one?
· If this was happening to someone else, would it automatically mean the same thing to them?
· What do I fear other people could think about me because of this situation?
· Why doesn’t that actually have to be true?
· What could I gain from this?
· If this had to happen for me to learn something vital from it, what would it be?
Questions like; “where’s the opportunity here?” and the core ILOC question’ “what can I do here now?”help you to keep your mind open to other possibilities of meaning. Keep your mind on the search for solutions, don’t let it keep marinating in the problem.
In any situation you see as a problem or a setback ask yourself:
“what can I do here now? Where is the opportunity here?”
The skill I want to help you cultivate through adopting an ILOC mentality is to be more aware of what is actually happening in the moment, not what your brain is trying to reflexively make of it and choose your actions accordingly. See life as it is in that moment, not the disaster your brain is making it out to benor how you’d like it to be,then take action.
‘It is what it is’ remember!
Now what is the best you can make out of it? Where is the opportunity, what are your choices, what can you do here now?
Work the problem guide
If a situation is stressing you, use the following to guide you:
· Write down all the fears you have about what might happen
· Go through each fear and prepare a plan for what you could do if they came true
· Scale the likelihood of each thing happening 1-10
· Go through each one and work out the actions that would reduce the score you have given
· Write down all the possible positives that could arise from this situation
· Go through each one and prepare a plan that would make those positives more likely to happen
· Create some small behaviours you could do each day that, by following them, would most likely lead to the outcome/s you’d like the most
So, the key to becoming more ILOC is becoming aware of those things that grow your self-esteem and feeding them at every opportunity, taking action rather than waiting for something to happen and inoculating yourself against negative influences.