I just finished reading Jon Gordon’s The Energy Bus. I highly recommend it.
A brief summary
George’s life is not going well. His marriage and his job are both in jeopardy. His relationship with his mother, his kids and his co-workers is not going well either. George’s life is one huge unhappy mess. He feels that he is the victim of bad luck and bad people. Due to car trouble, George must take the bus to work and he encounters a group of people who give him some advice and rules to follow to turn things around.
The first rule George is given is “You’re the driver of the bus”. The bus represents his life.
George has become a person who feels that his life is in the hands of others or fate or bad luck. He has an external locus of control. Big fancy psychological word but in quite a simple concept.
“A locus of control orientation is a belief about whether the outcomes of our actions are contingent on what we do (internal control orientation) or on events outside our personal control (external control orientation).” (Zimbardo, 1985)
People with an external locus of control don’t believe their efforts will change a situation. They tend to blame others and feel hopeless or powerless. Taken to an extreme, they may develop learned helplessness or a victim mentality.
People with an internal locus of control believe that they can change their circumstances and by their own actions or by influencing others. They generally are more confident, motivated, successful, healthier and happier. Taken to an extreme, they blame themselves for any negative outcome.
When faced with difficulty, we often fail to grab hold of the steering wheel and drive our own bus – because we are afraid or because we don’t think we can make a difference. One thing we are always in control of is our attitude – negative or positive – it really makes a difference! Just ask George!