Where is Your Locus of Control?

Models are useful in our lives, but they are rarely correct. Reality and our models are almost always different. But even if the model is incorrect, it can be very useful. One model that I find extremely useful for me is the model of the locus of control.

My Take on It

I just did a fast search on the locus of control on google. The answers I found about what it is seemed to be a bit different from my take on what the locus of control is. The locus of control models I found on my google search referred to the degree to which people can influence or control events in their lives. My take on is is that the locus of control is the degree to which people can influence or control the person’s internal state (as opposed to external events in our lives). In other words, I don’t care so much about the external events in my life. I am much more concerned with my internal state and my control over it. You could say I am not so concerned about objective experiences, and I am very concerned about my subjective experiences.

My Model

I once had this model explained to me as a picture. It was a very simple picture. There was a dot. Around the dot was a circle. Then there was an x somewhere in the picture. The model as I see it has the ‘x’ as the locus of control. The dot in the centre is our very selves. The circle around the dot is sort of a perimeter with all inside the circle representing our internal selves: our mind. Outside the circle is the world at large. If the ‘x’ is outside the circle, it represents a locus of control of our internal state being external to ourselves. For instance, if it is rainy, and a result of the rain is my sad or depressed feeling, the ‘x’ is outside the circle. On the other hand, if it is rainy, yet I feel quite happy or otherwise satisfied, then the ‘x’ is inside the circle. The farther outside the circle the x is, the less control I have over my internal state.

Perfect Control

My ideal state is having the ‘x’ on top of the dot in the centre of the circle. Then I am perfectly in control of my internal state and not dependent on external states and events. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? So now the question changes. The pertinent question for me is “How do I make the ‘x’ get closer to the dot in the centre?”

My Answer

The best way I have found to get the ‘x’ closer to the dot in the centre is to let go of my attachments. This was for years the central problem in my life. I had heard many sources give the advice to just ‘let it go’. Yet, I did not know how. Saying to myself ‘I let it go’ was foolish because it simply did not work. Willing to let some attachment go didn’t work. In fact, almost everything ‘out there’ in the literature that discussed letting go was of no value to me.

How to let go

All of our experiences can be boiled down to one thing: feelings. To let go of an attachment is to locate that feeling, and then immerse yourself in the feeling. And breathe. The breath is critical, I have found. Through the breath and the ‘reliving’ of the experience, I have found that I can let go of the attachment; I can let go of the feeling. I have been able to let go of countless attachments this way over the years. This is what I call the sweeping breath, that I have described in other blog posts. Through the sweeping breath, I can slowly but incrementally make myself less dependent on external events and situations. This is giving me a tremendous feeling of control in my life.