The locus rule | how to stay motivated the easy way
Do you feel as though you’re unlucky and everything bad happens to you? Are you unmotivated to make a difference in your life, because you think the odds are against you? Or, do you feel that out of control, that you look for the easier option to give you some comfort?
If any of these apply to you, don’t worry! We’re here to help you take back control of your life and feel motivated enough to take on any challenge that is thrown your way.
What is the locus rule?
The locus rule is a concept used by many successful people to help them stay motivated on their tasks, even when things aren’t going their way. This theory comes from the idea of the locus of control, which is essentially the degree to which you believe you have control over your life and the things around you.
The locus of control
When looking at this concept, think of it as a spectrum which can be split into two halves: External locus of control vs internal locus of control. Whatever you believe to be the determining factors in your experiences, will show you which side of the spectrum you are on.
So let’s take a look at the two different types and how you can notice them.
What is an external locus of control?
If you have an external locus of control, it means that you believe the results in your life, both success and failure, are a result of factors outside of the things that you have control over.
Some characteristics would be being convinced that, fate, luck, your genetics, circumstance or other people, influence the outcomes in your life.
People in this situation would feel hopeless in times of adversity and would think that bad things always happen to them. Their likely to blame others when things go wrong and always look for the easy way out.
What is an internal locus of control?
If you have an internal locus of control, it means that you believe the results in your life, both success and failure, are a result of your own actions and other things that you can influence.
Hard work, dedication, effort, decisions, choices and actions are the ways that people with an internal locus of control, believe they can alter their life.
People who have this mindset, often take responsibility for their downfalls and short commings, as well as believing in their own ability to change and then rewarding themselves for it. They also have high self esteem because they can change their life for the better.
One of the most well known studies on this topic comes from Claudia Mueller and Carol Dweck at Columbia University in 1998.
They took a large group of fifth-graders and told them to work on some challenging puzzles individually. Once completed, the children were then told that they had done very well and had done better than most of the other kids.
Half of the children were told that they did so well because they were smart and gifted and the other half of the group were told that the reason they did well, was because of their hard work.
They were then challenged with 3 more puzzles with varying difficulty (easy, medium and hard).
The children who were told that their success was due to their naturally gifted intelligence (external locus of control), spent majority of their time working out the easy puzzles plus, hardly any time on the more challenging ones and didn’t spend much time on any of the puzzles overall, which suggests they have a lack of motivation. When asked if they enjoyed themselves the response wasn’t great either.
On the other hand, the students who were told that their success came from working hard (internal locus of control), spent most of their time on the harder puzzles and a lot more time overall, working them out. They were also asked whether they enjoyed their time to which they agreed with. This would suggest that they had high levels of motivation.
So, in a world full of trials and tribulations, it’s likely that you would want to have an internal locus of control rather than external so that you can take back control of your life and become more motivated to achieve your goals.
How to develop an internal locus of control
Focus on what you can control
The first step is all about knowing what you want in life, so that you can focus on the most important things that will put you closer to your goals.
In the book the seven habits of highly effective people, there’s a concept known as the circle of concern, which has all of the things that you are worried about inside it, however, you can’t control them but, inside of your circle, you have a smaller one known as your circle of influence and this is where proactive people spend their time.
So, try splitting your problems, goals or concerns into things you can control and things you can’t control, then only focus on the things you can change, like this:
Have you ever heard the quote “with great power, comes great responsibility” well there’s a flip side to this, “with great responsibility, comes great power” and if learn to how harness this concept, you can take back control of your life.
Jocko Willink uses a term called extreme ownership, which is when you take responsibility not just for the things you have direct control over, but also the things that you have an effect on.
Stop blaming others when things don’t go to plan, instead, look for ways in which you can improve to limit your mistakes. You should also take credit when you do things right.
Surround yourself with motivated people
They say that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time around so, if you want to be In control of your life and feel motivated every single day to achieve your goals, you need to find people on the same mission as you.
Surround yourself with those who align with your long term vision and will help you to accomplish it. Although they may be rare you will find them.
To improve your chances of finding these people, you need to actually meet them in the first place. Go to events, seminars, meet-ups or any other form of socializing.
Having a positive mindset will change the game for you, it will give you the opportunity to see things from a different perspective and bury your negative thoughts for good!
One of the biggest attributor’s to your mindset is your language. You need to use positive self
-talk to change the way you think about things, instead of always putting yourself down.
A great way to do this is by using affirmations for example “I can handle this” or I am strong and hard working” you need to slowly “brainwash” yourself into believing in your own ability.
Yes, you should be taking control of every situation in your life and taking responsibility for every bad decision but, you also need to reward yourself when you are working hard and achieving your objectives.
By rewarding yourself, you are conditioning yourself self to keep repeating the same actions so, when you do something right, enjoy the moment because it will slowly improve your work ethic, making it easier for you to make the right decisions.
It could be a simple pat on the back in the mirror or taking yourself out on a date, whatever you choose, just make sure you enjoy it.