How to Develop an Internal Locus of Control – 2024 Guide

We are complex and social beings, and the fact that we are all unique and have different views on life doesn’t mean that we deal with certain situations differently. The psychological side is a huge factor here, and the basic right or wrong action is what guides most people through life. Now, feeling like we have no control over what happens in our lives is not something anyone wants, and even though there are things we really have no control over, our perspective and how we look at those moments can help us in life, and that is where the internal locus of control steps in.

What is it?

Having complete control over our lives is something most people would want and even prefer, which is nothing unusual, as we all want to know where our actions lead. On the other hand, life itself would not be as interesting if there weren’t for things we have no control over and cannot affect because it’s uncertainty that makes many things more interesting. Now, the thing with high internal locus is that it provides us much better control over our personal success or failure, and to put it even more plainly, we are not leaving anything to pure chance or fate. It is a concept developed by Julian B. Rotter seventy years ago and is a matter of personality psychology.

On the opposite side, those with high external locus control are more open to the concept of living where most things that occur happen due to some higher power, fate, and in general, forces that are not under their control. Of course, here, we are talking just about people with a high internal and external locus of control, or about 30% of the total population. Many people would like to develop a high internal locus control, but they aren’t aware of how to do so or whether it’s entirely possible. You would be pleased to know that it is possible, which is why we will further discuss and focus on how to develop an internal locus of control.


Yes, this is probably something you heard before, regardless of whether it was about your professional or personal life. Now, the thing with visualization is that it gives us a much better perspective over our goals, as even though it all starts by setting those precise goals, finding a way how to get to them is what can help us develop high internal locus control. We all have to make many decisions during one day, and not every single one of those decisions will lead us to the same results, and the same is with higher goals, as the higher those goals are, the more paths there are, meaning that besides determining the goals, it’s also of vast importance to pick the right path that will lead us to them.

On the other hand, it’s also about how you look at those goals and the way you think. Namely, if someone bases their goals on questions or believes that certain things are dependent on other people, that represents an external locus of control, and to change that, make sure to base your beliefs and thoughts on decisions and not questions. The most common way of thinking of people with an external locus of control is “If something happens,” and the way to change that and to increase the internal locus of control is by changing those thoughts to “When I do that,” as it’s all about great determination.

Learn from your mistakes

We all make mistakes, as they are a part of our lives and growing as a person, but learning nothing from those mistakes is what people have trouble with and something that we can do to increase our internal locus of control. Namely, when we make some mistake, regardless of how big or small, if we believe that there is nothing we can do to change it and at least not repeat the same mistake in the future, that will lead us nowhere. The thing about mistakes is that we simply need to make them but also learn from them, especially because sometimes the best way to learn something is by making a mistake.

The higher the goals, both personal and professional, the more likely you will make some mistakes along the way, but that doesn’t mean that you should focus on that and consider failure in advance. Once again, it’s about how we form our opinions and thoughts because if we are focused on how to get to those goals despite certain failures that are bound to happen, that is how we can increase our locus of control. Focusing on possible mistakes will lead you nowhere, as they are more likely to cause fear of taking certain actions when needed than anything else. That is why you should focus on the effort itself, as it’s the effort that matters and how to get to the main goal despite all the failures you might come across.

Own your failures

It’s tough when we are in charge of something and that something goes wrong because it was our fault. Now, owning your mistakes and standing firmly over actions and decisions you have made, even though they were bad, is a path to progress and something that will help you grow as a person. It’s because taking the blame for something you have done will also mean that you understand what happened, what the mistake was, and how to learn from it so that it doesn’t happen ever again. Blaming others in these situations is a path that will lead nowhere, and in these moments of distress, you can learn a lot about whether you are willing to take the blame for your actions or not. The moment you realize how important it is to take responsibility for your actions is when you will start learning from those mistakes and will also increase your internal locus of control. Now, people often mistake this for feeling guilty, but that’s not the point, as feeling guilty is not the goal, but taking responsibility for what happened is the thing that will help you increase your internal locus of control.