Brief comment on Locus of Control and Self-efficacy

Locus of Control and Self-efficacy are two of the four dimensions of core self-evaluations. I want to take some time to talk about them becuase I think good calibration on these may help with the other two dimensions, and have a big impact in life.

Let’s define what I’m talking about:

Locus of control is where you think that responsibility for events is. So you may think “It’s my fault”, denoting internal locus of control, or “It’s X’s fault”, denoting external locus of control.

Self-efficacy is how much you think you can do. “I can communicate effectively”, “I can’t finish things I start”.

There are tendencies in people to be in a part of the spectrum in either dimension… overestimate or underestimate their ability, or their responsibility. Getting these evaluations properly calibrated is key to taking action, backing off, and selecting what to think about when analyzing a situation.

I am pretty sure that these can impact the other two dimensions – too much self-efficacy and too internal a locus of control can lead to high neuroticism and low self-esteem when things don’t go as planned. Too little and too external, and it can lead to high neuroticism and low self-esteem when things don’t go as hoped for.

Some recalibration may be achieved by applying the technique I mentioned earlier; set your sights on some event, predict what you think will happen, and do your best to get things to be different. It can be a work project’s outcome (it will be average? Do your best to make it great!), or a personal relationships level (you think you can’t hang out with people next weekend because you’re socially awkward? Do your best to get people to hang out with!).

I encourage you to especially try and change small things that you think can be better – if you turn out to be able to make them better, then it’s amazing. Otherwise, you’re still a person with good feelings and intentions.

Gather the data and think about your outcomes. Your triumphs and failures will help you better gauge and estimate your impact on events around you.

Note: this article’s recommendations are not backed up by solid research efforts, but by the mental model the author has of the workings of the phenomenae described and self experimentation. If you try this, please share your experience, that this information may be further enriched.

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