“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”― Henry Ford
There are two perspective people have on life. They either take the perspective of an “owner” or a “victim.”
The owner is accountable, confident, and resilient. The victim is helpless, powerless, and cynical.
There are probably people you know who come to mind that fit both descriptions.
Sadly, much our world is geared toward victims. Many people live as if they are at the mercy of the events and circumstances they encounter in day to day life. From the nightly news, to political propaganda, to co-workers and neighbors, we hear messages that life is a struggle and to prepare for the next problem in a “dog eat dog” world.
But when we learn how to break out of this victim mentality a world of possibility opens up.
You can create the life you desire and deserve, but it requires taking full responsibility for our reactions, behaviors, and attitude.
Here are a few ideas to help you understand how to be more empowered.
Locus of Control
What do you believe controls what happens to you? Is it you or external circumstances? There is something called Locus of Control, and this has a big impact on our attitude and overall decision making.
“A locus of control orientation is a belief about whether the outcomes of our actions are contingent on what we do (internal control orientation) or on events outside our personal control (external control orientation).” (Zimbardo, 1985)
Internal Locus of Control
- Greater self-confidence
- Will work harder to get what they want
- Deal with challenges more effectively
- Take responsibility for their actions
External Locus of Control
- Blame others and outside influences
- More likely to experience learned helplessness
- More prone to give up in the face of challenges
A feeling of control is so important to the attitude you hold. If you feel in control you will feel a sense of mastery and competence. You feel better about yourself and your circumstances.
A second concept that is related to our level of empowerment is self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is the idea of what you believe you can do with your skills under certain conditions, and your ability to coordinate skills in challenging or changing situations.
In other words, do you believe you will be successful in a particular situation or not?
Believing you can achieve something is perhaps the most important ingredient in the recipe for success.
When it comes to goal setting it’s important to approach and set goals that will build self-efficacy. Building on success prevents discouragement and improves confidence.
We need to see success occurring in our life, which means accomplishing goals and ultimately setting larger and greater goals.
There will always be things out of our control, but when it comes to day to day choices we can learn to have a more empowered attitude.
Start to recognize that you often have a choice in the way to react to what happens to you. You don’t have to feel stuck because of you circumstances. You can always take steps to create the circumstances you want.
Zimbardo, P. G. (1985). Psychology and life. Glenview, IL: Scott Foresman.