Definition: Locus of control is the degree to which people believe that they have control over the outcome of events in their lives, as opposed to external forces beyond their control.
I remember, there was this room just across my office that was always locked and we could only peep through the glass door to see what’s in. There was practically nothing there just an empty space with wide clear windows. And I always thought to myself, “What a view we’d have, had our company taken this office space”. Well, the reason why I thought this was that our company was on the 23rd floor of the building and at a prime location, overlooking the highway. However, the other office, opposite us, that I envied was overlooking the sea and watching the sun set into the ocean would be an ideal scene to wrap-up each day and of course super amazing shots for my Instagram account.
So one evening, while I was leaving from work at 8pm with a colleague, I happen to see the door to that room wide open. We looked at each other and immediately knew that we had to take a peek in. While we were waiting for the elevator, she coaxed me and convinced me we should go take a look. I, on the other hand said, “No, let’s check it tomorrow, it’s already late and if they see us go in (on the camera); they’ll probably lock it”. That didn’t really help much; we eventually went in. It was too dark and dusty to stay around long. But I must admit, the view was pretty mesmerizing. We could see colorful lights along a dim clear coast and in a distance the blinking lights from yachts or cruise lines. Though all I was imagining was, standing there at sunset, clicking pictures and just soothing my mind at the end of busy day and week. So relaxing! We looked around for precisely 4 minutes and then decided to come back the next day just before dusk. Now, that’s where I should have reminded myself of something I regularly quote – “What we plan never really happens, and what happens is usually something we never really planned.” And, that’s exactly what happened. The next day, when I reached the 23rd floor and looked at the door of the room that would give me professional like artistic pictures of a perfect sunset, my imagination was crushed. The door was locked! I entered my office with a look of disgust, preoccupied with thoughts of this for the next 15 minutes. I could hear myself talking in my head – “Why did we have to peek in last evening; I told her they’d lock it up if they see us walk in; we could have gone in today, enjoyed the view, and taken some really awesome pictures. Damn it!”
15 minutes later, that very same colleague walks to me and says, “See, it was a good thing we went in last evening and got a chance to take a look at it.” And in my head I go like, “well, that’s why they locked it”. She continued to speak as I was grumbling in head. “I guess they locked it because a couple of other colleagues to walked in before us.” And as she said that, my eyes lit up, I realized that was my moment of truth. I was hit by the realization of the power of my “Locus of Control”. Let me explain. I realized that because I thought; no I believed that the door was locked because we- My colleague and I – walked in and spent time looking around. Even worse; I let that thought ruin the first 15 minutes of my day at work and make me assume that MY INTUTITION IS ALWAYS RIGHT!
It’s funny to know how we function in this world full of assumptions. At that very moment, I realized how people actually think and react in different situations. My reaction and thought process was such because of my Locus of Control being internal at that time. I assumed that this happened because of me – Me allowing us to walk in. While my colleague had an external Locus of Control active in that moment, when she said that it could be due to other colleagues walking in.
Guess what? I still wasn’t convinced and wanted to understand the impact of my Locus of Control. So, I went down to the security desk during my lunch break and casually asked him why the office on the 23rd floor was locked today. And his reply opened my eyes further. He said that it was a yearly cleaning activity and that the office was just supposed to be opened in the morning and then locked at night. It was like a “realization tornado” just hit me. The fact was that both, my colleague and I were wrong. In most situations we don’t go to the extent of verifying our thoughts and are satisfied with what we assume. We want to, in most cases, believe that as mature adults, our perspectives are right and it cannot or should not be challenged further.
The impact of our Locus of Control!