Why Is This Happening for Me?
IN 1954, Dr. Julian Rotter began measuring what he called a student’s locus of control. He said you either had an external locus of control or an internal locus of control.
Those with an external locus of control believe that fate or external forces control the outcomes of their lives. Life is happening to me. They are so busy reacting to life that they’ve turned everything over to others—it is someone else’s responsibility. For example, to say, “A professor gave me a bad grade,” reflects an external locus of control. This happened to me. “They did this, so I had to do that.”
People with an internal locus of control are people who believe that they are responsible and in control of their own success. They take personal responsibility. “I own this.”
Your perspective on a problem will determine your experience in dealing with it. Your experience is based on your perspective. You usually can’t control what is happening to you, but you can control your perception of it and, thus, how it affects you. If you have an external locus of control, then you flat-out don’t believe that.
You need to shift your focus. It’s not an easy shift to make. I know. It is natural to turn inward when in the midst of a problem or disruption. But the way out, the way to healing, is to see your problem as part of a larger whole—a different context. We must expand our thinking.
Every problem has the potential to give you a firmer foundation from which to deal with the next disruption. It builds resilience.
To get where you want to go, you’ve got to go through the stuff that you’re in the middle of. Perseverance implies a process—a journey. And it is in that journey, if we stick with it—if we persevere—that we develop maturity and completeness. Our tendency in this journey is to try to avoid all of the discomfort, disruptions, and problems that come our way. We fight against it.
We need to reframe that. It’s not about what you are fighting against but rather understanding what are you fighting for?
We are fighting for resilience. We are fighting for strength. We are fighting for perseverance. We are fighting for patience. We are fighting for growth. We are fighting for hope.
Instead of asking, “Why is this happening to me?” ask, “Why is this happening for me?” You can redeem your circumstance. So many times, I think all of us can look back and think, “Wow. I would never have become the person I am today without what happened to me. I wouldn’t have chosen it. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else, but it built something valuable in me. And I’m better for it.”
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