Many of us have an ‘External Frame of Reference’ or an External Locus of Control, this is rather common and isn’t a bad trait to have (sometimes it has its usefulness) but rather it is limiting to yourself of how you think and the real personal power you have in your own life. An external frame of reference is basically where we look outside to see if things on the outside are the same as what we are doing or we look on the outside to see if things are right, wrong or if were doing the right thing at the right time. why so much comparing? Why look at others to compare to yourself, are you afraid what your doing is not good enough or right?
There point here is that we should move to having a internal frame of reference or an Inner Locus of Control rather than an external one. There are many benefits of an Inner Locus of Control.
An external frame of reference can be seen by yourself every time you want to leave the room first but you wait until others leave because your scared to leave or you don’t feel right or normal leaving before others. This comes a little under being yourself too. As an example when i recently went to a lecture i had to wait for my teacher or mentor to turn up, he had to teach a class of about 30 people. Me being the brave one and the one not afraid to be myself left before the other students. The teacher did not show up and a lecture of this class was only 1 hour, i had waited 25 minutes for him to turn up and still no one left the lecture room.
Until i though to myself what am i doing here, he has not turned up and we have only 35 minutes left of this lecture so i considered leaving. I thought to myself why not? Why should i wait around. It came to the teacher being 30 minutes late and still no sign or word from anyone saying if he in today or off sick.
At the 30 minute point i just got up and left and what i noticed was quite funny but quite normal, when i left the room first i got up and everyone else soon followed. I took a position of ‘leader’ in this situation, i used an internal frame of reference because i did not allow others to give me the right or wrong or cue to do something. If you use external frame of reference you will end up becoming one of the people rather than your own person, when i say become one of the people i mean specifically become one of the herd. Those who have an internal frame tend to lead, not because they want to but because they usually influence those who don’t take control of their own lives.
So that’s my story example of internal frame of reference, i left because i wanted to but also because the teacher didn’t turn up. Many of the others in that room used an external frame of reference, this means they looked at others in the room (the other students) and decided to wait for cues that it was okay to leave. Another example on this issue would be like me or you studying and then looking at how others are doing and comparing our work to there’s, whilst looking for inspiration and motivation from others is fine an external frame of reference on someone else doing their work is almost like copying them, not copying their work but saying to yourself “he is working so i must work too”.
Here are many situations where external frame of reference is used:
- You wont leave the room until others do
- You wont ask for something until someone else does
- You wont feel okay until someone does something about a certain situation
- You wont jump until he jumps
- In general you wont do something until someone else does, your looking for cues from someone to take hold of a situation
If your frame of reference is on the inside you will focus on you, and compare your success to yourself but you may also check to see if their on the right page like a teacher does. You may also use the people in a fair way to achieve the goals you may have set yourself, this means others around you are helping you to achieve it, you don’t compare your success or decisions to others rather you just take the bull by the horns yourself. Have you noticed that having an inner locus of control is all about controlling yourself completely and that all the examples above refer to doing things based on what happens outside of you, why can you not grab the ball and do your own thing, why can you not act? Why is it you are afraid of acting on your own or taking the leadership role? You should not be afraid to act, do not let others decide for you when you can or cannot act, even if they are not consciously stopping you with an external locus of control you might not be aware of it but your letting others control you and how you live your life. If your aware of this now then I’m glad my article awakened you.
PS: External frame of reference often when we wish to feel safe before we do something because others make us feel safe doing it, the idea is to make yourself feel safe rather than letting others make you feel safe, then and only then will you do things on your own and do things based on your own decision making.