Who and what determines your fate?
It is important to recognize what we have control over, and what we do not. Some of us are more inclined to believe that control over our circumstances lies within us, and some of us are more inclined to believe that control of our circumstances lies outside of us. What we believe in this regard can have significant impacts on our health, happiness, success, and life satisfaction in nearly every area of our lives.
In the world of psychology, where we believe the power over our lives lies is called our Locus of Control, meaning center or source of control. Locus of Control and its influence on our lives, well-being and success has been a popular topic of research in psychology for several decades.
People who have an Internal Locus of Control believe they can control, change, improve or worsen their situation and circumstances through their own thoughts, actions or behaviors. Suppose we were to meet a person with a completely Internal Locus of Control, such as Cliff, depicted below.
If Cliff were promoted at work, Cliff would believe that he earned the promotion through hard work, or by applying his strengths, skills or intelligence.
Likewise, if Cliff did not earn a promotion, or was demoted or even fired, Cliff would attribute his lack of advancement or even his decline to himself as well. He would look to see where he had failed to exert effort, where he failed to meet the requirements or expectations of the position, or…other things.
If Cliff got into trouble with the authorities for causing shenanigans or getting into some tomfoolery with other meddling kids, Cliff would look at his own role in the situation, and the choices he made that led him there.
If one of Cliff’s relationships was in distress or unraveling, Cliff would look to his own actions and words (or perhaps lack thereof) and take responsibility for his role in the state of the relationship.
Cliff would see his health as a function of his choices and behaviors, such as eating habits or exercise or other preventive maintenance.
We’ve probably heard enough from Cliff for now.
Then there are the people with an External Locus of Control—people who tend to believe that power over situations or circumstances lies outside of their control.
Suppose we were to meet a person with a completely External Locus of Control—a person such as Cloe, below.
If promoted at work, Cloe would believe that she received the promotion, rather than earning it. She would believe the promotion was the function of a lucky break, or a favor from a kind and generous supervisor.
If Cloe did not receive a promotion, or was demoted, she might attribute it to an unfair process of selection, or to a lack of appreciation for her work by supervisors.
If Cloe were to get into trouble for monkeyshines or larking around, she would attribute it to circumstances outside of herself—such as having a bad day, to her past experiences, to “the system”, or the way another person was treating her.
If one of her relationships was struggling, Cloe would place blame on the other person—what they said, what they did, how they acted, and how their behavior led to an argument or general misery and distress in the relationship.
Cloe would see her health as a function of her genes, environment, germs, or fate…or any combination thereof, as long as it were out of her control.
If it isn’t clear, when it comes to anything—finances, time, achievement, relationships—good or bad, success or failure, Cliff would look to himself and his role in the situation or outcome. Cloe would look to anything or anyone else.
Which would you say is a healthier perspective for a person to take, the Internal or External? In seeking to improve our lives, our well-being, and our overall impact on—and legacy in—the world, should we strive to be more like Cliff, or like Cloe?
If your answer was something along the lines of well, that depends, you are correct. And how it depends—meaning on what circumstances and situations it depends—is key to our understanding. But let’s put that aside for now, with the promise that we will return to the it depends later. For now, we’ll attend to the in general.
Research is overwhelmingly clear that if you had to pick one person’s perspective to emulate, you’d be wise to choose Cliff’s.
In general, people who have an Internal Locus of Control (the Cliffs of the world) are better off in terms of their well-being, happiness, work, success, and relationships.
Decades-worth of research studies have found that an internal locus (being like Cliff) is associated with better mental well-being, life satisfaction, and even physical health.
In the workplace, people with an internal locus tend to have greater motivation, job involvement, self-development, self-efficacy, empowerment, and overall job satisfaction—including satisfaction with their pay, and satisfaction with their coworkers and supervisors.
The Cliffs of the world also tend to have more personal accomplishment, earn higher salaries, and achieve higher organizational-level attainment.
Looking to social life and interactions, Cliff again wins. People with an internal locus tend to receive greater support, and have better relationships.
Not only is there more of the good stuff for the Cliffs of the world, but they also tend to have less of the negative stuff. People who lean more external in their perspective (Cloe and her compatriots) are more likely to be depressed and anxious, to cope poorly with stress, to have comparatively poor self-control, and to have a relative inability to delay gratification. An external locus of control is also associated with decreased academic performance and increased juvenile delinquency (i.e., monkeyshines and tomfoolery) in young people.
People with an internal locus of control, on the other hand, tend to have less stress, less work-family conflict, less burnout and overload, and less emotional exhaustion. They also tend to deal with problems in more positive ways.
There are no doubt a number of reasons for all of this. But the one reason or theory I’ve seen come up multiple times is this: People who believe that they have control over a situation, problem, or outcome are simply more likely to try, or to try harder.
The Cliffs of the world are more likely to work harder, because they believe their hard work might actually get them promoted, or get them to the job or career that they want. The Cliffs of the world are more likely to have a necessary yet uncomfortable conversation with a person instead of avoiding the issue, because they believe it might actually heal the relationship, or allow them to move forward. The Cliffs of the world are more likely to address their problems instead of ignoring them, hoping they will go away.
A part of us really doesn’t want to hear this. This is partially because it can seem arrogant or delusional to take all the credit for our success or accomplishments, or other things that may be perceived as good fortune. And there is a point to be made for this, which we’ll touch on later.
But the part that is more seductive is the part of us that was nodding our head along with Cloe—(Yes, she is a blankety-blank, Cloe! They were asking for it! And it isn’t fair!). It feels good to deflect blame for difficult, uncomfortable, or otherwise undesirable circumstances outside of ourselves, and frequently onto other people. It also allows us to do what we want—or to avoid doing what we don’t want to do—and feel as though we are justified in doing so.
The problem is that strategies of blame or other types of external criticism and cause attribution feel good only temporarily…mostly because the problem continues if we aren’t doing anything about it. Then we have to live with those consequences.
∞ ♥ ∞
Asleep at the Switches
This is not to give the illusion or mistaken impression that everything here is under our control. There are wheels and gears turning of the sorts we can’t even fathom, in every area of our lives. Our hearts beat, our cuts heal, leaves make the air we breathe out of the air we’ve breathed out. The people we love, the people who challenge us, the people we wish we’d never have met (and people who somehow manage to be all three) come into our lives unsought and unexpectedly, seemingly out of nowhere, and soon enough we cannot imagine where our lives would be without them.
Industries rise and collapse under their own weight, and those of us who’ve hitched along for the ride rise and fall with them. Storms and sunny days when we need them most or can bear them least. Accidents of all sorts, including the happy kind. Billions of bacteria we thought were out to get us turn out to thrive in our insides, keeping us thriving as well. Skin cells and organ cells come and go, so that in seven years you are not who you were, inside or out, yet somehow, still, you are. We sleep, we dream; our bodies and brains decide what to keep and let go.
Death sentences we have no way of knowing await everyone we know, including us. People lie, cheat, and steal, and manipulate their way into positions of power. People get caught, and get taken down or taken out in one way or another. Food enough to feed every mouth in the world grows from the ground or spawns in the sea. The economy rises, the economy falls; so, too, do hemlines and haircuts. Wars and hunger and peace and plenty half a world away from us, or just down the street.
The ocean rises and pulls away, making sharp grains smoother; sometimes leaving starfish behind, and sometimes pulling the stranded ones back home. An unstable hand hovers over a button that never should have existed. Every day, more people than you will meet in your lifetime die between the time you wake and the time you sleep. The sands of the hourglass, the clicking of a clock, the pages on a calendar, etcetera, etcetera. Another year, another ball drops.
You may believe you are an accident amidst accidents, as the poet David Whyte phrases it, or you may believe this is all part of a greater unfathomable plan. Either way there are forces at work beyond your ability to imagine, let alone your ability to control. No matter who you are or what you believe, these wheels are turning, this ride is going on. The bus is leaving, (as my mom used to say), with or without you (which she did not say). No matter who you are or what you believe, it is not your hands at the wheel. There are countless others holding on to their part of the wheel, and the wheel itself has a default it swings back to if and when all of our hands were to stop gripping and just let go.
“We are most deeply asleep at the switch when we fancy we control any switches at all”. ~Annie Dillard
This is where Cliff gets into trouble. Earlier we asked which was a preferable perspective to have, Cliff’s or Cloe’s, and we said it depends. The Cliffs of the world (meaning the part of us that behaves like this) get into trouble when they try to believe they have control over wheels their hands have never touched, and never will. Or when they believe they should have control of these things.
These wheels may be relatively small—like the choices or behavior of someone they love (or someone they scorn), or what another person mistakenly thinks of them. Or it might be an outwardly bigger wheel, like the ones we see turning on the news. Either way, if we take more responsibility for beliefs, actions, situations or outcomes than is rightfully ours, we are going to get nowhere in improving the situation, but will manage to bring ourselves down in the process. Or, in science-speak: “When one insists upon attempting to control situations that cannot be controlled, the resulting psychological conflict can bring negative attitudinal or behavioral outcomes”[i].
∞ ♥ ∞
The truth is that none of us are entirely like Cliff, or entirely like Cloe. Each one of us has Cliff in charge of certain parts of our psyche, and Cloe in charge of others. The question is whether we have them assigned to the appropriate areas in our lives.
If we look at this from the perspective of Stephen Covey and the Circle of Influence [ii], we should have Cliff assigned to the Circle of Influence, and Cloe assigned to the Circle of Concern. But none of us do that entirely. Instead we tend to go wrong in one of two ways.
The first way is where we take responsibility or blame for circumstances that originate outside of us. In other words, we put Cliff in charge of parts of the Circle of Concern, which should be Cloe’s territory. We believe that our Circle of Influence is larger than it is.
We already covered that things can get problematic for Cliff when he tries to control, or believes that he should control, things that he cannot. But there are other ways Cliff can go wrong in this way, as well.
The View from the Mountaintop
In academia there is a saying, We stand on the shoulders of giants, which means that we wouldn’t have the vantage point to learn what we are learning, and to know what we know, if it weren’t for the work and insights of the generations before us. Cliff can get into trouble by placing onto his shoulders burdens that don’t belong to him, but he can also fail to see the shoulders he stands on, how much more they have allowed him to see, and how far the feet under them have taken him.
My father has a story he likes to tell about mountain climbing (we called hiking “mountain climbing” in my family, and I suppose we still do). He would take all of us kids, from my cousins to my siblings, hiking in the Adirondacks. If we were too small to hike on our own, he would put us in a pack on his back, a kind of seat he slung over his shoulders. One year my brother was about three, and my dad carried him in the pack nearly the whole way up the mountain. Just near the top, my dad took my brother off his back, and let him down to walk on his own. My brother ran the rest of the way (about 100 feet or so, near-horizontal slope), and when he reached the top he yelled “I climbed the mountain! I climbed the mountain!”[iii]
So Cliff can be like that. There have been eons of growth and evolution, struggle and revolution, leading to this very moment. Countless generations have given their lives to us in one way or another, even if it is to teach us what not to do, and to make mistakes we now don’t have to. This is on top of everything mentioned earlier, from the air we breathe and hearts that beat, to the sun and soil and sea.
Cliff can fail to see the shoulders he sits or stands on, the legs that have carried him this far, and even the mountain that was waiting there for him to climb, and the foundation it sits on. He can fail to see the trail that countless others had worn down before him. He can fail to see his own innate intelligence that allowed him to recognize and follow the path. He can fail to see the trail markers put in places where he could easily have lost his way, or the handholds, or his hands that grabbed them, and he can fail to see all that happens behind the scenes to keep these things working without our thought, let alone our input or effort. None of these things he worked for, or earned, or even asked for.
To not have the humility and gratitude to acknowledge these things, all of the life and lives underlying our own, is going to get us into trouble as well. If we get too much in the Cliff mindset, we can even fail to see the people who have walked ahead of us, and behind us, and beside us. Yet we somehow manage to be surprised when we try to go at it alone, and we stumble or fall, or lose the trail entirely. Each of these topics are so important they deserve at least a chapter all of their own, but we will leave them here for now.
Also, it is okay to feel lucky or blessed when you are, when you did nothing to earn it. It is okay to accept how you are when there is nothing you can do to change it, or because there is nothing wrong with you in the first place. Cloe can be good for us, in these cases.
So Cloe isn’t all bad. There are situations where thinking like Cloe is helpful, and beneficial not only to you or me, but to other people, and the world around us. Like Cliff, she just has her place. It’s just that we don’t often put her there.
∞ ♥ ∞
The second way that we go wrong is the when we do not take responsibility for things that are actually within our control, or “when at conflict with the world [we] automatically assume that the world is at fault.” According to Dr. M. Scott Peck in A Road Less Traveled, when we are in this mode, we tend to use phrases like I can’t, I have to, and I had to, “demonstrating a self-image of a [person] who has no power of choice, whose behavior is completely directed by external forces totally beyond his or her control.”
We make this error when we put Cloe in charge of a part of the Circle of Influence—Cliff’s territory—which she immediately and inappropriately pushes out to the Circle of Concern, diminishing our power and well-being, and doing nothing about the problem at hand.
Before we move into further detail as to how and why Cloe can be problematic, I’d like to address what may be an elephant in the room.
Cliff is male and Cloe is female. This is not simply a coincidence, nor is it a matter of an unconscious societal sexist bias revealing itself through the timeless medium of cartoons. It is also not my own subconscious making fun of myself and certain struggles I’ve had with blame or playing the victim, or feigning powerlessness, or making excuses, etc. etc. (At least it is not only that. I won’t deny there is a great deal of that here. And I will note that her hair is the same length that mine was at the time I drew this picture. I will also include an early rendition of Cloe so that you can note her jacket color [iv].)
There is a reason Cloe is female, and Cliff is male. This is because females tend to lean more external in terms of our locus of control, in any number of dimensions. Studies have shown this. This is probably not exactly a revelation for most of us. We all know the anecdote of a woman talking to a man about a problem she’s facing, and the man offers a potential solution or tries to fix it, and the woman gets mad that he is trying to fix it instead of simply nodding his head and saying “I’m so sorry honey. Yes, I understand. That is horrible. How could they treat you that way?” (Or other such responses which may be roughly translated as “It’s not fair, he shouldn’t have done that, she is a blankety-blank, etc.)
I include this distinction not to point the finger at us females, but rather to encourage us females to look at ourselves when our inclination is to point our fingers at others, male or female. Dare I say, in these delicate times, that we, more than the Y-chromosomed of our species, may want to look at ourselves a little longer and harder when the inclination is to place blame, to say I can’t or I have to, or look to someone else to fix it.
We females may have to look at ourselves a little longer to see if our complaining, criticizing and commiserating might perhaps be keeping us from an inconvenient or uncomfortable, yet undeniably more constructive, solution that lies within our control. Or we may turn that pointing finger or critical eye on ourselves, and take a moment to consider and contemplate choices we might have made to contribute to a situation, so that we can change our behavior in the future. This is not to say that we should not have compassion for one another or for ourselves. But compassion and codependency (and its close cousin enabling) are very different things. They are very different things.
This is not to say this applies to all females, nor is this to say that males don’t have these problems or tendencies. In fact, research has indicated that our society is taking on an increasingly external perspective in recent decades—males and females alike. In general we are becoming a society more and more dominated with Cloe’s brand of thinking, and most of us could use less of it.
∞ ♥ ∞
Cloe as portrayed here so far is a bit annoying, but humorous in her annoying-ness because we all know and have heard someone playing the victim, we have all pretended to be helpless over a situation, whether or not we knew we were pretending at the time. She offers us a glimpse at the outside world and a glance in the mirror, and so brings about a knowing smile.
So Cloe can be funny and can make us smile, but mostly Cloe is sad, and something else that makes us want to look away—from her, from the idea, and from ourselves. Because Cloe is also dangerous.
Cloe isn’t just the voice saying, “she is a blankety-blank”. She is the voice saying my relationship with my best friend is over and there is nothing I can do about it now. Why pursue your dream, she says, when it wouldn’t happen anyway? You lost your chance at getting a degree…you are too old now, you are too busy. You can’t get healthy because it is in your genes to be this way—why bother?
Cloe is the voice telling you that knowing about something is the same thing as doing something about it, and that talking about someone is the same as talking to them. Cloe is the voice telling you that how you are spending your time or what you do not have time for, how you are spending your money or what you do not have money for, how you are nurturing your body or why you are not, all of these things are out of your hands. Cloe is the part of you that looks out at the world and says there’s nothing I can do, the world is going this way, I might as well enjoy the ride.
Cloe is the voice of the past and the voice of the future: “if only that hadn’t happened,” “if only this were to happen,” “when I have,” or “if only I had.” Later, she says, later, until the day she decides it’s too late now. Cloe is the Red Queen in this way, always jam yesterday and jam tomorrow, never jam today.
Cloe is also the queen of I can’t. I can’t do that because of A or B or C or X or Y or Z. Unfortunately for Cloe her call of I can’t doesn’t just apply to things she doesn’t want to do. I can’t also applies to things she wants to do—even needs to do—in her life, in her relationships, in her work, with her body and health, and to things she wants to do out in the greater world, and for the greater world.
Somehow Cloe isn’t so funny, so amusing, when we realize that the things she doesn’t do amount to our lives. Cloe sees the world around her starting to crumble, or opportunities sitting right in front of her, and she says I can’t; if only. When we let Cloe take control of these areas, or any areas we truly care about and can do something about, she says I can’t, when in fact she won’t—and then we don’t.
∞ ♥ ∞
We have Met the Enemy
The problem with Cloe is that she will kill you with kindness. She will come up all innocent victim and bring you down and take you out before you even had a fighting chance. She won’t let you fight for your chance. She will tell you that it is everyone’s fault but your own that you aren’t where or who you want to be. She will tell you that anyone or anything is to blame for where you are and who you are (or are not). She will tell you there is nothing you can do about the world around you, especially that one issue that hits you right in the heart.
She knows you, because she is you, so she knows that if you think about it too long, if you really examine some of these thoughts, you’ll eventually realize that one obstacle is surmountable, that one person is not the whole world, the past is not now. So she will shift the focus and bounce around the blame—now everything and everyone is to blame, and responsible for changing your life and changing this world. Everyone, that is, but you.
So it’s not truly kindness she’s killing you with. It feels good in the moment, just when the thought of that dream or goal or fear or issue or concern comes into your mind. Your breath catches for a moment, it hurts to think about that thing, where or who you are or where the world is going, and then she swoops in and says: Yes, dear, but that’s not your concern. There’s nothing you can do about that…You’ve always been that way…just ask your family…If only you had more time or money…Talking to her about this would just cause trouble, you know how she is; Let’s talk about her instead…This will get fixed…your lucky break will come.
And it feels good. It feels really good to hear that. But the problem with Cloe’s kindness is that it is short and shallow. It shields us from the immediate pain and discomfort of uncertainty and challenge and struggle, but it prevents us from trying at all, and in doing so it keeps us from addressing our problems—from living and growing. It keeps us in a low-level background sort of suffering, the kind we can try our best to distract ourselves from, but the kind that keeps popping back up in one place or another, like a sad, sick carnival trick.
The problem with Cloe is that these things will not go away. These struggles, these issues, these dreams, these longings are not going away. The current ailments and sharp things tearing away at the fabric of our society and wearing away the threads, both seen and unseen, holding together this great green and blue world… they are not going away.
We have met the enemy, and he is us ~Pogo (Walt Kelly)
It’s not kindness at all. It’s something else that cannot quite be named. Something akin to that mother in The Sixth Sense, who on the surface selflessly dotes on and serves her sick child, seeming so caring and self-sacrificing. In reality she serves something else entirely, as she slowly and secretly poisons the very food the child believes will heal her. She does this to keep the child sick and draw attention to herself, to garner sympathy and show everyone else just how selfless she is, such a martyr. And then one day she overdoes it, or one more day of that kind of poison is just one day too long, and then little girl with her whole life ahead of her and the whole wide world waiting for her, is gone.
The problem with Cloe is that she won’t come at you with something you can defend against. She won’t attack you outright. The problem is that she will not let you live. Who or what could hurt us more than that?
Cloe will keep you in a prison of your own inaction and perceived helplessness. She will watch you wither away to a shadow of what you are and can be, or could be to this world, or to the person right in front of you. But she will keep you just busy enough, just distracted, indulged, and entertained enough, to believe that you are free.
∞ ♥ ∞
∞ ♥ ∞
Final Matter for Next Time
The mother in The Sixth Sense probably had what is called Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another [v]. People with this disorder keep others sick in order to get attention and sympathy for themselves. The disorder is very hard to identify because the people lie all the time, and they are good at lying. Even once the disorder has been identified, it can still be very hard to treat, because the people have been lying for so long that they truly believe their own lies, and are unable to tell fact from fiction. They believe the reality they’ve created. The mother believes the child is sick; she believes she is caring for her child.
And so it can be with us. When we put Cloe in charge of our Circle of Influence, often we are not consciously aware of what we are doing. In many cases, we aren’t simply making excuses, or being lazy, or intentionally eschewing responsibility, even if it would appear that way to an outsider. In many cases we actually and truly believe that we can’t do something or change something—we believe that we are helpless. Even if presented with arguments and evidence to the contrary, or if there are opportunities or options in front of us that any outsider could see, we believe that we are helpless. We are unable to see that we are the ones imprisoning ourselves, and so we are unable to see that the bars are not actually there. But more on that next time.
[i] Thomas W. H. NG, Kelly L. Sorensen, and Lillian T. Eby. (2006) Locus of control at work: a meta-analysis J. Organiz. Behav. 27, pp. 1074. DOI: 10.1002/job.416 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/job.416
[ii] Last time we learned about Stephen Covey’s concept of the Circle of Influence. To briefly recap, according to Covey we have two areas in our lives. The first is our Circle of Concern, which includes everything we worry about, complain about, get excited about, and dream about. Simply, our Circle of Concern includes everything we care about. The second is our Circle of Influence, which includes everything we can do about the things we care about. These are the things that we actually have the ability or potential to change. Covey suggests it would behoove us to focus our thoughts and efforts on our Circle of Influence. See this post for the full article.
[iii] This story is completely out of character for my brother, which is probably why my dad finds it so amusing. Luckily our world perspective grows a bit after the age of three (for most of us, at least). My brother is incredibly grateful to my parents for everything they did for him, and the opportunities they and others have given him, which have allowed him to do so well on his own mountain–a Manhattan mountain, as it were, but a mountain nonetheless.
[iv] For those of you who don’t know me well enough to have memorized my patterns of dress, I tend to wear a lot of green. I have been known to wear green jackets until they are no longer green.
[v] This is apparently an intended improvement on what was formerly known as Munchausen by Proxy.
I had originally planned on including in-text citations, but as Rachel Carson so aptly put it, “I have not wished to burden the text with footnotes but I realize that many of my readers will wish to pursue some of the subjects discussed.” I have therefore included a list of references and sources, by topic/point, which may also be considered as suggestions for further reading.
I would also be remiss if I did not first and foremost stress the importance of three classic books, The Road Less Traveled by Dr. M. Scott Peck, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, and Man’s Search for Meaning, by Victor Frankl (as well as Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger, and likely countless others that are slipping my mind at the moment) in formulating and expressing many of the main ideas presented here. Though the words here are mine, many of the underlying concepts are not.
Sources and Recommended Further Reading
Review of literature on benefits of Internal Locus of Control (especially work and success-related): Thomas W. H. NG, Kelly L. Sorensen, and Lillian T. Eby. (2006) Locus of control at work: a meta-analysis J. Organiz. Behav.27, 1057–1087. DOI: 10.1002/job.416 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/job.416
More benefits of internal locus of control: Hielke Buddelmeyer, Nattavudh Powdthavee, (2016) Can having internal locus of control insure against negative shocks? Psychological evidence from panel data, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Volume 122, 2016, Pages 88-109, ISSN 0167-2681, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2015.11.014. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5510663/
Belief that failure is out of your control leads to reduced performance: Pete Coffee, Tim Rees & S. Alexander Haslam (2009) Bouncing back from failure: The interactive impact of perceived controllability and stability on self-efficacy beliefs and future task performance, Journal of Sports Sciences, 27:11, 1117-1124, DOI: 10.1080/02640410903030297
Locus of Control and Your Life (Good Overview in Layperson Language): Cherry, Kendra. (2019) Locus of Control and Your Life: Are You in Control of Your Destiny? VeryWellMind. Updated June 4, 2019 https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-locus-of-control-2795434
Gender and Locus of Control: Adrian C. Sherman, Graham E. Higgs & Robert L. Williams (1997) Gender differences in the locus of control construct, Psychology & Health, 12:2, 239-248, DOI: 10.1080/08870449708407402
Locus of Control over time (we are becoming more external as a society, males and females alike); and still more benefits of internal locus of control/negatives of external locus: Jean M. Twenge, Liqing Zhang, Charles Im. (2004) It’s Beyond My Control: A Cross-Temporal Meta-Analysis of Increasing Externality in Locus of Control, 1960–2002. Personality and Social Psychology Review 2004, Vol. 8, No. 3, 308–319 http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.532.5200&rep=rep1&type=pdf
What and who you believe controls your fate can make or break you: “Additionally, Dr. Siebert, author of the Resiliency Advantage, argues that both sets of beliefs are self-validating and self-fulfilling. People who believe that their fate is under the control of outside forces act in ways that confirm their beliefs. People who know they can do things to make their life better act in ways to confirm their beliefs.'” https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/building-your-resiliency-part-iii-taking-control-of-your-life/