2. Control Your Destiny
Julian Rotter, a professor of psychology at the University of Connecticut, developed the concept of what he calls "locus of control." Some people, he says, view themselves as essentially in control of the good and bad things they experience—i.e., they have an internal locus of control. Others believe that things are done to them by outside forces or happen by chance: an external locus. These worldviews are not absolutes. Most people combine the two. But research shows that those with a strong internal locus are better off. In general, they’re less likely to find everyday activities distressing. They don’t often complain, whine, or blame. And they take compliments and criticism in stride. The importance of this mentality is evidenced by tornado statistics. In the past two decades Illinois has had about 50 percent more twisters than Alabama but far fewer fatalities. The discrepancy can be explained, in part, by a study in the journal Science, which found that Alabama residents believed their fate was controlled by God, not by them. The people of Illinois, meanwhile, were more inclined to have confidence in their own abilities and to take action. This doesn’t mean we should be overconfident. Rather, we should balance confidence with reasonable doubt, self-esteem with self-criticism. And we should do this each day. As Al Siebert put it in his book The Survivor Personality, "Your habitual way of reacting to everyday events influences your chances of being a survivor in a crisis."