Understanding Locus Of Control in Persuasion

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Locus Of Control & Making A Good Impression

locus of controlLocus Of Control: Everyone like vanilla ice cream but that doesn’t mean it’s the best. Vanilla and magnolia are the go to options when you are trying to please (or perhaps just not upset) as many people as possible. Sure, hardly anyone has a problem with vanilla, I mean how could you?

But equally, not many people are wetting themselves with excitement at the prospect of eating it either.

We get so focused on not upsetting people these days we miss the point of having a personality. I would much rather have 50% of the people I meet love me and 50% hate me than have 100% of people walking away with no strong opinion either way.

If you are going to be significant in this life you need to stand out. You have to make your imprint on this world.

A Good Impression

Why is it essential to create a good impression on people? A significant part of that answer would be because we are not solitary people. We spend all our time living with other people and interacting with them. No matter how introverted you wanted to be people are essential in our lives.

This post is about persuasion, and as such you should know that people will behave and respond to us according to their assumptions about us. They will soon build up a characterization for us, and they will respond accordingly. However, it is a mistake to give the people you meet free range to decide what sort of person you are. We are here to steer the boat, not just be a passenger!

What we get out of people, who form an important component of our lives, will depend on the impact that we have created over them.

For Example

For example, if we give out the impression that we are polite and soft-spoken, then many people are going to act with us in the same manner too. These people may behave differently with others, but with us, they will function in the way our impression has built on them.

A manager in a company gets a different behavior from the people he meets than an auto mechanic at a garage. Even when these individuals are the same, they react differently with the boss and with the auto mechanic. Why is that so? This type of response is built upon the impression that is developed by these 2 personas.

At the same time, we need to recognize that the way people respond to us is a crucial deciding factor on how we lead our lives itself. Our actions in life are a culmination of the responses we get.

It is a vicious cycle. People react to us according to the perception they get from our character. And then, we get molded according to the response we get from other people.

A Vicious Cycle

The impressions we make affect people’s reactions towards us, and then these responses shape our personality.

However, even though this is a circle, you can take control of it. You can do something that can greatly improve the predicament for you in a significant way. However, you can only take hold of the steering wheel of your own life if you have what is known as an internal locus of control.

The Locus Of Control Theory

The principle of locus of control that is unfamiliar to most people, even though, once defined, is commonly understood. Locus of control is an individual’s belief system pertaining to the causes of his/her experiences and the factors to which that individual connects success or failure.

This idea is typically divided into 2 categories: internal and external. If a person has an internal locus of control, that person attributes success to his or her efforts and abilities. A person who expects to succeed will be more motivated and more likely to learn.

A man or woman with an external locus of control, who attributes his/her effectiveness to luck or fate, will be less likely to make an effort needed to learn.

People with an external locus of control are also more likely to experience anxiousness since they believe that they are not in control of their lives. This is not to say, however, that an internal locus of control is “desirable” and an external locus of control is “bad.” There are other variables to be taken into consideration.

A Study Explains It

However, a psychological study has discovered that individuals with a more internal locus of control seem to be better off, e.g., they tend to be more achievement-oriented and get better-paying careers.

For many years I coached broadcasters for large radio stations around the United Kingdom. The reason I left the industry is that it became clear to me that there is a psychological conflict between the business of radio and the art of broadcasting.

In my opinion, to create genuinely compelling and entertaining radio, you need strong personalities on the air. To be what is considered to be a talented personality you need a unique outlook on life. As such all the best radio presenters have an internal locus of control. They believe they have the power to be unique. Add a healthy dose of ego, and they also think they are the best too.

Conflict Of Interests

The conflict came in when commercial radio became less and less independent. Large groups were swallowing up the local stations all over the country. Because these big groups are often publicly listed, they answer to their shareholders. Having uncontrolled” unique” personalities on the air in all these remote outreaches of the expanding company represented an unchecked risk to the suits in charge of the balance sheets.

The radio groups needed total control of the brand. That’s quickly done when you churn out a fixed product like a breakfast cereal for example. With physical products, you can specify the ingredients, design the packaging and then arrange the marketing. All according to your highly researched and tested company policy. However, when your product is people, then you are exposed to a lot more risk.

High personality broadcasters are entertaining, but they are liable to say something that damages the share price of the company. This was seen as an unacceptable risk. A threat to the bottom line that must be removed.

Threats Must Be Removed

Of course, removing the talent from the air to protect the share price is a bit like taking the engine out of your car to ensure you don’t have a crash. The high personality presenters were removed, one way or another. The most common way was to force them into a creative straightjacket. Only allowing them to read pre-written scripts until they got terminally bored out of their brains and quit or rebelled against the system, giving management the license to fire them they wanted in the first place.

The personalities were replaced by guys who had good voices but would do exactly what they were told. They had an external locus of control. They believed that they needed the guidance of the radio station before they could speak. They didn’t have the old school confidence that what they had to say was valuable. I couldn’t stay in the industry because I couldn’t make silk purses out of sows ears.

Yes Men All Around

Bulletproof PersuasionBut where did they find all these yes men with lovely voices?

Locus of control is frequently viewed as an inborn character element. However, there is also evidence that it is shaped by adolescence experiences, including children’s connections with their parents.

Kids who were brought up by parents who encouraged their independence and enabled them to learn the connection between actions and their consequences tended to have a better developed internal locus of control.

The benefits of this were specified in a research study that looked at the potential health impacts of the locus of control characteristic. Analysts discovered that of more than 7,700 English adults followed since birth, those who had demonstrated an internal locus of control at the age of ten were less likely to be overweight at age thirty, less likely to define their health and wellness as weak, or present high amounts of psychological stress.

Locus Of Control & Childhood

The primary explanation for these findings was that children with a more internal locus of control behave more healthily as grownups because they have higher confidence in their ability to influence outcomes through their actions. They may also have higher self-worth.

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Craig Beck

About The Author: Craig Beck ([email protected]) is the author of several bestselling personal development books and audiobooks. Including Unleashed: How to love yourself more and unlock your full potential, available on Amazon, Audible and in all good bookstores. Craig is also a certified master practitioner of neuro-linguistic programming, hypnotherapy, timeline therapy and a highly in-demand international motivational speaker.

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