“Can you rephrase that to a statement that serves you better?”
That was the question I was asked by a good friend, but I wasn’t sure if I could. I still don’t know. I think it is just the truth, I am exhausting to live with and the more that I recognise that the easier my world becomes.
Growth is my passion. I love it. I have a long way to go and there are many times where I much prefer comfort over growth, but I love to consume as much as I can around areas of leadership, psychology, entrepreneurialism, random information and anything else that I can get my hands on. Be that through podcasts, books or attending events, I have developed a deep love of learning.
I do forget sometimes that not everyone loves what I love – especially my wife. She has her hands very full running and growing a business, being a mum to a 4 and half year old ball of energy and a 1 year old demanding beauty. So, I can understand that sometimes she doesn’t care about why written words create less empathy than spoken ones, or how tank warfare impacted the result of World War II, or how Slack was founded. She also doesn’t want to have a conversation every single day about why she does the things that she does, or which tiny habit she should start.
I can be a bit intense, and recognising that gives me a great deal of gratitude for her, and for putting up with it, especially when I direct that intensity at understanding the psychological impact of going to the gym rather than just unstacking the dishwasher.
“Our experience shapes the way we see the world and how we see the world shapes our experience.”
“Sometimes stuff happens to you and sometimes you happen to stuff.”
I find it fascinating to watch how people respond to life circumstances. And let’s face it, there has been a lot of ‘life circumstances’ happening this year. It’s got me thinking a great deal about what responses are appropriate and what it takes to control our response to those things which are outside of our control.
I decided to do some reading on the psychological concept of locus of control thinking that it would help me break down people into two groups.
- Those that have an external locus of control being people who sees the events of their life and the world around them as happening to them, without having any control over.
- Those with an internal locus of control being those that can control their response to external events and recognize that they can always do something.
It turns out locus of control is more about people’s view of how success is achieved – whether it is completely within their control (internal locus) or success comes from luck or fate alone (external locus). As you could imagine, most people fall somewhere in between.
Regardless of that, this frame of thinking can be the springboard for how we approach the world. Generally, people will either lean more towards action or reaction. Action, being more in line with an internal locus of control, someone who creates the world that they want. And reaction being more about an external locus of control, someone who responds to the world as it happens to them.
This year has seen a great deal of things ‘happen to us’ and I am in awe of those who are creating the experiences they want, the life that they want and the cities that they want to live in. They are the people who are not overwhelmed by challenging circumstances and are creating positive outcomes where others only see tragedy.
As Hamlet put it, ‘nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.’