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What Causes Unhappiness?

Updated on October 11, 2015

External vs. Internal Locus of Control

There are several factors in determining happiness & well-being. They can all be broken down into two major categories: external and internal.

  • Internal - The individual with the internal locus of control will derive motivation from within. Satisfaction is achieved through self-discovery, achievement & empowerment. Earning a college degree, for the internal-oriented person, will be more about the knowledge & confidence that is gained from the course of study and not necessarily the physical degree, although it does help.
  • External - The individual with the external locus of control is heavily influenced by others & the environment. Happiness derives from positive relationships and praise from others. One may feel unfulfilled in a lengthy course program until the degree or certificate is awarded, giving them something tangible to physically represent his or her success.

Most people naturally gravitate towards one or the other. I, on the other hand, can't seem to settle for just one. I self-identify as a primarily internal processor, with a few elements from the external thinker. In fact, it's nearly impossible to not relate to an external locus when there are so many things out of one's control from the moment of birth. I had no choice in who my parents happened to be, where I was born, how I was brought-up, etc. I can do nothing about the events that occurred prior to my existence. I have very limited control over how my life will end. I have almost no control over how others perceive me or the actions they choose to take (other than how/if I am able to react accordingly).

With so much powerlessness, it can be easy to become discouraged and hopeless in the wake of so much insecurity. But, I am interested into looking into the real-life circumstances (or lack thereof) that causes unhappiness? Comment below.

What is Your Locus of Control?

Which one are you?

See results

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