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Where’s your locus of control? Your success may depend on it

June 20, 2019

Where’s your locus of control? Your success may depend on it

By the U of A System Division of Agriculture

Fast facts:

  • ‘Locus of control’: How you view actions, events in your life
  • More likely to be successful with an ‘internal locus of control’
  • ‘External locus of control’ people tend to feel like life is based on fate

(350 words)

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LITTLE ROCK – Whether you see your life as a series of random events or as a result of your work can influence how you build wealth. Laura Hendrix, associate professor for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and a personal finance expert, said this comes down to what’s often referred to as the “locus of control.”

“We all have either an internal or an external locus of control, or LOC,” she said. “’Locus of control’ refers to your view of how your actions impact life. Internal LOC people feel in control. They are masters of their own destinies. External LOC people feel like life events are based on luck, fate, or other people.”

People with an internal LOC are more successful in their efforts to improve health or increase wealth, she said.  

What if you have an external LOC?  

Laura Hendrix
Laura Hendrix, personal finances expert. 

“Don’t despair,” Hendrix said. “You can move from an external LOC toward an internal LOC. Take charge. Discover your power to improve your health and increase your wealth.”

Here’s how:

  • Take an online survey to learn more about your LOC. Check out the “Control Your Destiny” quiz at A typical question is “Are unhappy events in life the result of bad luck or personal mistakes?”
  • Make a list of the external forces you blame for your poor health or financial management practices. Do you blame a busy job for your lack of time to exercise? Do you blame your parents for not teaching you how to manage money?
  • Make a list of positive and negative events that happen in your life over the next month. Examine how your decisions and actions affected the outcome.
  • Set small, easy-to-reach goals. Focus on your own efforts to achieve the goals. Remember to attribute your success to your actions. Celebrate your achievements. Some example goals are:

o Save $50 in one month. Save $1 per day plus pocket change.

o Lose four pounds in 5 weeks. Eliminate 200 calories per day and exercise to burn off 200 more calories per day.

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About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126