Strengthen your internal locus of control and understand that you have control of your choices, even when it doesn't feel like you have any. Get tips and advice for how to change your mindset from learned helplessness to positive and forward thinking.

The Power of Choice: Top 5 Tips to Strengthen Your Internal Locus of Control

This week on the Productivity Paradox podcast, for episode 045, I talked about how we always have choices… even when we don’t feel like we do.

I went over a few examples of people who really do have little to no choices, yet still find ways to make decisions for themselves and have a good sense of freedom to do so. Some people are attached to the idea of ‘learned helplessness,’ which is the idea that we don’t have control over our situations and their negative outcomes.

The answer to this issue is to have a good sense of internal locus of control. I go over that in detail in episode 045, but I though I’d also give you the rundown here, too.

Having an internal locus of control means that you understand that you have control over your choices and the outcomes. A good, positive mindset is one of the most important things we can attain when we’re trying to accomplish goals and focus on our personal priorities… and all of that means we’re making choices.

So let’s get start now with my top 5 tips for strengthening your internal locus of control, which will allow you to become more successful when working towards you big dreams!


  1. Be aware that you have a choice.

    Even if the choice isn’t your favorite, if it’s not your first choice, or if it’s just a choice to merely change how you look at things, understand that there are options. You can also choose the ways to which you find help and you can choose what ways you choose to cope.

  2. Review your options by making a list of all the possible courses of action.

    Don’t evaluate each option, just write them down. You can evaluate them later after your initial brain dump but sometimes it helps just to sit down and come up with all the options that are possible. You might be surprised how many choices you really have.

  3. Ask for ideas from a friend.

    Sometimes it’s so helpful to get an outside party to look in and help you out. Make sure it’s a supportive friend of course and then you really need to listen. Don’t interrupt or argue back about why something isn’t a choice, just write down all their suggestions. They’ll have a different way of looking at the choices then you do.

  4. Choose what’s best for you.

    When you start making choices, don’t get bogged down into weighing the 5 million options. We already delved into that back in episode 43 with analysis paralysis. Start by focusing on the best choice for you.

  5. Everything is a choice.

    Getting out of bed every morning, that’s a choice. Choosing to smile at the lady who passes you on the street, that’s a choice. Life is a series of choices so enjoy getting to choose. Honestly just knowing that you have that option of choice is enough to begin building up that internal locus of control.

With these tips in mind, I think you’ll feel inspired to be more positive and forward-thinking when it comes to your next big decision – especially ones that move you toward big goals and dreams.

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Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton