The New Johari Window #3: Locus of Control

The New Johari Window #3: Locus of Control

There is a second level of criticism with regard to internal locus of control. It concerns the existential despair that can accompany individualism and the courage of autonomy and responsibility. Sören Kierkegaard describes this as sailing alone on a stormy sea, with many fathoms of dark and unknown water beneath us.  We ultimately live in isolation from other people and from the assistance of an external benevolent force when we assume an internal locus of control. Kierkegaard was able to find an external, caring God in the midst of his existential analysis. Victor Frankel similarly found this external divine presence—in the midst of a grotesque, externally dominated experience of the World War II concentration camp.  Many other proponents of existentialism can’t find this balancing presence of an external spiritual presence. They sink inevitably into despair or a nihilistic perspective on life that is pure internal locus, but also pure hell.

External Locus of Control

There are other forces that propel our ship and we have to contend with and interact with powerful, external forces that have something to say about our course of travel and our destination. We live on sailboats—not motorized boats. The winds, currents, tides and weather have much to say about the direction and speed of our travel. Our ship has many co-captains. Many external forces move our ship. Someone or something else is pulling us [God/Fate]. We are like the ship coming into the harbor that is being pulled by a tugboat. The tub boat (and its captain) provides both the energy and the direction. Energy and direction are both derived from external sources.

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About the Author

William Bergquist

William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant, professor in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 45 books, and president of a graduate school of psychology. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations. His graduate school (The Professional School of Psychology: www.psychology.edu) offers Master and Doctoral degrees in both clinical and organizational psychology to mature, accomplished adults.

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