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Each week on Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke, explore different aspects of human behavior and the brain.

Who Controls Your Destiny?
Should I stay or should I go? Recognizing our ability to get up and leave stressful situations represents an internal locus of control – a belief in our inherit ability to control situations. ";

So how do we define Locus of Control?  Essentially, it’s our positioning of ourselves within our perception of the world and the way that we perceive our power and influence. We can either feel in control of our lives – which is reassuring – or we can feel subjected to forces outside of our control – which we are then forced to endure. When that happens, we can feel stuck. 

Feeling stuck, with no other options, often leads to prolonged periods of stress. That in turn can depress our health – physically, mentally and emotionally. But since we construct our perceptions of reality, we have the option to shift our locus of power. That way we can then redefine the source of power in any circumstance – taking it when needed, or giving it up when needed. (In some stressful circumstances, having less control over the outcome of a situation can actually be preferred.)

The lack of control we feel over the unpredictability of life can be very unsettling. We can all feel destabilized by the real lack of power we feel in several areas of our lives. But how we choose to define our locus of power, either internally or externally, can carry a great influence over our perception of our experiences as enjoyable or regrettable. Our locus of control is in constant flux.  

We either rely on either an internal or external perception of control: The world is either an oyster, or out of our hands. But more often than not, it’s a choice that we can change at any moment; our locus of control is never a finite state. 

If you’re unhappy about a situation and you feel responsible for it, try shifting your perception of your locus of control. Maybe it wasn’t your fault. Maybe it was. Maybe it’s all in your head?

What is your locus of control today?  Is it internal, or is it external right now?  Find out by taking a quiz.

Rebecca McInroy is an award-winning show creator, host, and executive producer for KUT, KUTX, and KUT.ORG.
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