Locus of Control:" I am the master of my fate". What we have learned from Brother Nipsey.
In our fast-paced society, we are frequently presented with sensational information. So much so, that we have become conditioned to spend very little time processing events. We have become desensitized to what was previously considered awesome or even special. But every so often, there are events that have an atomic bomb affect. The impact is so great that it not only hits the target, but has a lasting effect in terms of both physical proximity and emotional impact. We hear about it for years to come and develop a healthy respect for its power. That has been the impact of the untimely death of Nipsey Hussle.
This wasn’t just a rapper that we lost. He wasn’t just a man who sponsored turkey giveaways in the hood, once a year. He was a man who financially invested in the very neighborhood he grew up in. He showed up for us: to children at their schools, to law enforcement as an advocate, to other rappers, and essentially, to every person in his community. He was present both physically and economically. In his death, our hope is that thousands more “Nipseys” will rise up and follow suit. In order to do so, we have to understand some of the qualities he embodied that would permit a man to operate this way. One quality that he possessed that made it possible to accomplish so much in thirty-three years was a high internal locus of control.
1. What is it: Locus of control “is a psychological concept that refers to how strongly people believe they have control over the situations and experiences that affect their lives.” This has to do with you intrinsic motivation, what you believe you can or cannot do.
A. Internal: People with a high internal locus of control tend to believe they have the power and ability to both positively and negatively affect their outcomes. Self-direction, self-efficacy, how much control you have over your future. These people subscribe to Henley’s word “I am the captain of my fate, I am the master of my soul”. They tend to be more resilient and are less discouraged by disappointment. They are able to pivot when needed because they don’t see adversity as a locked door. They see it as a sign to try a different route.
B. External: People with an external locus of control believe their future and outcome is primarily determined by external factors. They believe that they are not in control and are subject to whatever life brings them. They say things like “I’ll have to see what happens”. They blame the teacher for the exam instead of taking responsibility for their actions. They believe they can’t get a new job because no one will hire them. They blame their success or lack thereof on outside factors that are essentially out of their control. These people tend to feel hopeless, disempowered, and often reluctant to be introspective.
C. This is not about being able to magically control things or move objects with your brain power. This is about an intrinsic belief that you, as an individual have the ability to impact the direction of your life through making a concerted effort in any direction. The inverse of this is believing you do not have the power to do so and passively waiting for the wind to blow in your favor.
2. Why is this important:
A. What successful person do you know that just sat on the porch and got a windfall of money? People who won the lotto got up and played it. Actors who got cast in huge movies showed up for the audition. Even Diddy started out hanging posters for shows. And now, he’s… well… Diddy! Not a single person that has ever achieved anything did so by believing they were incapable of doing so. It started with the idea that there was something in the world they wanted and if they worked towards it, they could have it.
B. In general, people with an internal locus tend to be happier, experience depression at lower rates and feel more empowered.
C. When you believe you are in control, you recognize that your options are literally endless. You aren’t scared to dream because you believe that one way or another, you will find a pathway towards it.
B. How can you increase your internal locus of control?
A. Remember: You really are in control. You can apply to go back to school. Pursue that relationship. Try that new hobby. Whether or not you do it really is your choice. You may not be able to control the outcome, but you most certainly can plant seeds in the direction of what you want for yourself.
B. Change your lexicon: this is the language you use on a daily basis. Instead of “I can’t” say “I chose not to.” Instead of saying “I don’t have time” say “That’s not a priority right now”. Small changes remind you that you have the ability to navigate what happens, how your time is spent, and the direction that you go in.
C. Ask for help: There are people in the world who have the ability to see more in you than you see in yourself. They have a way of highlighting your strengths and pushing you to work harder for what you want. Find them and sit under them. Listen to them pour into you until you digest it and can speak over yourself. They won’t always come in the person you expected. Often, its someone that you didn’t even know thought so highly of you, just waiting to help you see how talented you are. Find them!
D. Process barriers: external locus of control could very well come from experiences that reinforce this. If you attempt to do something that makes you feel in control, but each time you are shut down or unable to see it through, naturally, you will begin to believe that nothing is in your control. Give yourself space to process the times you were hurt or disappointed. Next, start with the small wins. Complete something small and give yourself a high five for getting it done. Keep that same energy and move on to something bigger. Remember: You got this!
Ultimately, it is your choice how you respond to the events around you. Nipsey chose to pursue a path that would provide him with the income to literally buy the block. You have the same choice. No one cut the rungs off the ladder on the way up. Once you believe you have the power to go upward, one step at a time, you will exercise that power.