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Calibrating Your Locus of Control


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Presentation Summary: Listeners will be introduced to the topics of loci of control, attributions, and calibration. The speaker will use logical arguments to persuade the listener that internal and external loci of control are both appropriate in different situations, and will provide a framework for loci of control that considers calibration.

Created by Richard Thripp and presented on 5/04/2016 at Port Orange Toastmasters to fulfill Project 2: The Proposal from the Technical Presentations manual in the Toastmasters Advanced Communication Series.

Published in: Education
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Calibrating Your Locus of Control

  2. 2. What is locus of control?
  3. 3. What is locus of control? • How much control you believe you have • Internal locus means you believe you are in control • External locus means you believe external factors are in control (people, situations, etc.)
  4. 4. What are attributions? • Attributions are how you explain phenomena • Related to locus of control • How do you explain your actions? Others’? • When do you attribute to situational factors? Dispositional factors?
  5. 5. Attributions and loci of control • Scenario: Bad performance evaluation • Internal locus: Might attribute to not working hard enough • External locus: Might attribute to supervisor being a jerk
  6. 6. Personal connection • Do you have a friend or coworker who cannot take personal responsibility? (external locus) • Others might blame themselves even for things that aren’t their fault (internal locus) • How is your locus of control calibrated?
  7. 7. What is calibration?
  8. 8. What is calibration? • Calibration often refers to exam predictions. Perfect calibration would be believing you’ll get a 90% grade on an exam and getting 90%. Very bad calibration would be predicting 90% and getting 20%. • Applying calibration to locus of control is new?
  9. 9. Locus of control & calibration • Having an internal locus of control = better? • Calibration is situational • Some things truly are out of your hands • Others aren’t • Recognizing the difference = important
  10. 10. How do you calibrate your locus of control?
  11. 11. Calibrating your locus of control • Different situations call for different loci of control • One way to recognize good calibration is through case studies
  12. 12. Debunking the myth that internal loci of control are always superior
  13. 13. Case Study: Samantha • Samantha has an boyfriend who is verbally and mentally abusive. He becomes enraged if she doesn’t cook him dinner or if she hangs out with pre-existing male friends. • Samantha has an internal locus of control regarding his behaviors. She blames herself for failing to meet his expectations, and continues “improving.”
  14. 14. Case Study: Samantha • In Samantha’s situation, is an internal locus appropriate (i.e., accurately calibrated)? • NO • To the outsider, severance is the obvious solution. Samantha does not actually have control over her boyfriend’s behavior. Blaming herself is an example of inaccurate calibration.
  15. 15. When an internal locus is wrong • When is an internal locus of control inappropriate? • Problems you inherited, figuratively or literally • When the “ball is in their court,” so to speak • Discrimination and institutionalized bias • Circumstances left to chance or others’ actions • When you are the victim (to an extent)
  16. 16. Example: Driving a car • Driving involves your actions and others’ actions • Like most real-life situations, having a wholly internal or external locus of control is inaccurate • An excellent driver might avoid dangerous situations, thereby exhibiting internal locus of control • However, even an excellent driver can still be injured or killed by another reckless or malicious driver
  17. 17. When an external locus is wrong • When is an external locus of control inappropriate? • Problems with self-regulation • Failure to follow directions • Unhappy with bad choices • Sunk-cost fallacy • Whenever you can change the situation if you try
  18. 18. A framework for calibrating locus of control
  19. 19. Calibration framework for locus • We can derive a framework based on logic • List the factors in and out of your control • Consider the proportions • Think outside the box—don’t be constrained
  20. 20. Example: Bad job [external / internal] • Need the money • Superiors are rude • Expectations unrealistic • Work environment sucks • High turnover • Business model sucks • Health problems • Spend less / save more • Can complain / quit • Keep a journal • Negotiate or quit • Employees have agency • Make it better • Avoid somaticizing
  21. 21. Calibration framework for locus • Framework is iterative • Look at your past choices and experiences • Adjust and calibrate better next time • Avoid needlessly sacrificing control • Examples of needless sacrifice: not keeping an emergency fund, saying “yes” to crap
  22. 22. Concluding thoughts
  23. 23. A new model for locus of control • I could find no search results combining calibration and locus of control • Generally, locus of control has been looked at simplistically with internal = good; external = bad • But, life is nuanced • Check your attributions • Question the premise
  24. 24. Q & A 3–5 minutes