Thursday, March 24, 2011

Are you Internal or External?

Do you believe that you have the power to change things in your life or do you leave it up to chance? 

What do you do with the influences of the environment you function in? Do you sulk and blame everything and everyone around you? Or do you pucker up, take responsibility and tackle the “environment”?

Locus of control concerns your attitude and the control you have over life circumstances. According to Michael Wise from the Miami University, locus of control is defined as an individual’s generalized expectancies regarding the forces that determine rewards and punishments.

Locus of control refers to your perception about the underlying main causes of events in your life. Confused? More simply, do you believe that your destiny is controlled by yourself or by external forces?

Locus of control can be divided into:

Internal locus of control people feels that they can influence their outcome through their own ability, skills and effort. They view events as resulting from their own actions and believe they can make choices to affect their life circumstances. These individuals believe that their behavior is guided by their personal decisions.

 External locus of control people on the other hand feel that their outcomes are beyond their control. In other words, they believe that external forces control their outcomes, such as luck. And this also guides their behavior.

There are a few theories centering on locus of control:

  • Julian Rotter’s Attribution Theory says that this is a process where people credit forces outside the self as key factors in determining thoughts and behavior.  For example, you may think that you need coffee to pay attention during an information session. This can have a negative impact on your believe system. They can feel that they need particular conditions for every situation and this can make them over-dependant.
  • Then there is Reinforcement; reward and punishment lead to people holding beliefs about what causes their actions. The Action versus Reaction theory. These beliefs in turn guides what kind of attitudes and behaviors people adopts. This theory you will find alive and kicking in the working environment.
So, what should be the ideal locus of control?

Well, in general it seems to be psychologically healthy to perceive that one has control over those things which one is capable of influencing. A more internal locus of control leads to personal control and self-determination. People functioning more “internal” are more likely to work for achievement, tolerate delays in rewards, are better able to resist coercion, they tend to re-evaluate when failing, are more willing to work on self-improvement and to better themselves and more likely to learn from past experiences. “Internals” take responsibility for the choices they make and the outcomes thereof.

“External” people are more likely to lower their goals after success, they prefer chances and luck, are less likely to seek solutions to their problems, less likely to learn from past experiences and find it difficult to persist in tasks. “Externals” can tend to blame people, situations, work, etc for whatever happens to them, and let “things” rule them.

Although internal locus of control is more preferred, we should be aware that we should not rely on ourselves overly too much, it can lead to resistance to change and over-independence. On the other hand the "externals" can have an overly easy-going and couldn't care less attitude.

I think one of the places locus of control can be seen most clearly is the working environment or corporate world...

Since most of us spent most of our time at work I’m adding this interesting statement in the Bloomberg Businessweek:
 "There are two kinds of employees. Some believe they can make things happen, and the others believe that things happen to them. The first group believes that the outcome of their life and career is more or less in their own hands, and they wouldn't have it any other way. The other group takes more of a Forrest Gump approach: They sit around and wait for a bus to take them somewhere.

    This distinguishing feature is captured by something called a "core self-evaluation." After more than a decade of research, psychologist Tim Judge has discovered that virtually all superstar employees—from rainmakers in the field to line workers on the floor all the way to big guns in the boardroom—have one thing in common: a high core self-evaluation. Judge describes core self-evaulation as "a person's fundamental bottom line evaluation of their abilities."

    Judge and his colleagues have shown overwhelmingly that employees who feel like they control the events in their lives more than events control them and generally believe that they can make things turn out in their favor end up doing better on nearly every important measure of work performance. They sell more than other employees do. They give better customer service. They adjust better to foreign assignments. They are more motivated. They bring in an average of 50% to 150% more annual income than people who feel less control over the fate of their careers. Not surprisingly, these employees also like their jobs a lot more than the Gumps do.”
But all in all it boils back to management….we should always have a balance in life....decide how you function….take responsibility….and manage it….effectively….be prepared to listen, to be led...

(Graphics at,,

Saturday, February 5, 2011

LUCKY ~ How the Kingdom Comes to Unlikely People by Glenn Packiam

I was browsing through my two Glenn Packiam books this week : Butterfly in Brazil and Secondhand Jesus and was wondering how his third one is going. And here is the good news and a few snippets, Lucky - How the Kingdom Comes to Unlucky People will be released in March 2011 and is already on pre-order at Amazon.

From Glenn himself on his Blog : Are you lucky? What if I told you that Jesus thinks you are?

Not because of a charm or chance, but because of the arrival of the Kingdom of God.

Jesus’ words of blessing in Luke 6 lifted the unlikely and the unlucky because the Kingdom of God had come to them. The poor, the hungry, the mourning and the persecuted are blessed because the Kingdom of heaven—its fullness, and comfort, and reward—is now theirs. This is Christ’s announcement: the Kingdom of God has come to unlikely people.

Like the people Jesus addressed, you are called “lucky” not because of your pain or brokenness but because in spite of it, you have been invited into the Kingdom. God has come to you in the midst of your mess and mistakes. He is inviting you to surrender, to live in a different way, and to participate in His work of rescuing and redeeming the world. The trajectory of your life has been altered. You now have a part in the future that God is bringing. Like Abraham, you have been blessed to carry blessing, to live as luck-bearers to the unlikely and unlucky.

You—unlikely you!—are receiving and participating in His Kingdom. 

For that you are lucky indeed.

Was reading and discussing the Kingdom of God last year with a few friends, and I'm definitely looking forward to Lucky. Also, Glenn's books and blog is one of my favorite reads and I love sinking my mind into his writings and thinkings c",)

The foreword of Lucky was written by Eugene H. Peterson Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology, Regent College, Vancouver B. C, and here it is for your reading pleasure. Also found on Glenn's Blog :

I have just finished reading the book you are holding in your hands, Glenn Packiam’s Lucky. And I’m feeling lucky. I’m feeling lucky to have spent a few hours in the company of a pastor who cares enough about the Gospel of Jesus and the Kingdom of God to take them seriously on their own terms, to respect their integrity. He doesn’t “adapt” them to the American consumer culture. He doesn’t strain to make them relevant to a secularized way of life that is only interested in God on its own terms. He is not a Bible “salesman” selling a religious product at cut-rate prices.

He begins by throwing us into the deep end of the pool, introducing the centerpiece of Christian teaching with Jesus blessing a quartet of losers: the poor, the hungry, the grief-stricken, the despised (Luke 6:20-24). And the water is freezing cold. But Pastor Packiam doesn’t apologize—he seems to think that Jesus means what he says. I hear him saying to us, “Get used to it.”

And we do get used to it, largely because the biblical message is conveyed to us on its own terms, as narrative. Not “truths” or “principles” or “advice”, proof texts proving that Jesus didn’t really mean what he said. The story, from Genesis to Jesus, gathers us into relationships and plot. Nothing impersonal here.

Not only do the Scriptures retain their original “storied,” relational, character in the pages you are about to read but the poor, hungry, grief-stricken, and despised also retain theirs. None are lumped into categories and accounted for by statistics. They have personal names; they live in locatable places. We find ourselves in the company of a pastor who knows the men, women, and children he serves in Jesus’ name. The stories convey a sense of accuracy and dignity. I don’t catch a hint of sentimentalism or propagandistic manipulation in the telling. These are not poster-child renditions to manipulate our emotions.

There is also this. The poor, grief-stricken, and despised, that by now we are becoming accustomed to recognizing as lucky, make their appearance in Malaysia, Portland, Chicago, Starbucks, Cambodia, Detroit, Colorado Springs, and Uganda. Lest we stereotype the luckless as people we will never see, or maybe the person we look at in the mirror every morning, we are brought into a multi-cultural, world-embracing community in which God is doing His kingdom work.

This is explicitly kingdom work, kingdom of God work, a kingdom already here but also in the making. We are not just picking up the pieces in the wake of the expulsion from Eden and the confusion at Bable. God is making a kingdom and Christ is king. We are part of the work being done and also participants in the work. As we participate we realize that we bring no qualifications to the task, none at all. Lest we get in the way of the kingdom work that God is doing, Jesus redefines us all as the poor, the hungry, the grief-stricken, and the despised. Then as Pastor Packiam deftly and clearly works us and others into the kingdom story, we realize how thoroughly blessed we are—lucky, lucky indeed."

Okay, so there it is! Now I'm super-excited, cannot wait to read LUCKY and also Blog on it. If you read one book this year, make it a Glenn Packiam. Your thoughts and ideas will be challenged, you will have something to talk about ;-) and you might just grow ...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity ...
To accept the things I cannot change ...
Courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference ...
Living one day at a time,
Accepting hardships as the
pathway to peace.
Taking, as He did, this world as it is,
not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make
all things right
If I surrender to His will.
That I may be reasonably
happy in this life,
And supremely happy with Him,
forever in the next.

There are many theories about who wrote the Serenity Prayer, when and why. Elisabeth Sifton, Reinhold Niebuhr's daughter thought that her father had first written it in 1943; his wife wrote in an unpublished memorandum that it had been written in 1941 or 1942, adding that it may have been used in prayers as early as 1934. Niebuhr himself was quoted as saying the prayer "may have been spooking around for years, even centuries, but I don't think so. I honestly do believe that I wrote it myself."

In 2008 a Yale librarian cast doubt on the origins of the Serenity Prayer. Fred R. Shapiro found several archival materials that led him to express doubt that Niebuhr was the author. But in 2009 it was reported that researcher, Stephen Goranson, that works in the circulation department at the Duke University library, and as a sideline, searches for the origins of words and sayings found a Christian student newsletter written in 1937 that cites Niebuhr as the prayer’s author.

The prayer in the newsletter was slightly different, but the 1937 document very much strengthens the probability that Niebuhr wrote it, and Mr. Shapiro agrees. 

But even in Niebuhr’s lifetime, he faced accusations that he was not the prayer’s author. Niebuhr’s family long maintained that he wrote the prayer in 1943, in the midst of World War II. Whoever the author, the Serenity Prayer was adopted by the U.S.O. in wartime, and by Alcoholics Anonymous, which uses it in its 12-step program. It is often found printed on mugs, wall plaques, postcards, greeting cards etc and quoted in several books.

Whatever the "politics" surrounding the prayer....

Where did you first come across the Serenity Prayer?
Did you pray it yourself some or other time in your life and what was the circumstances?
What's your thoughts and feelings about the prayer?

I can't remember where I've first read or heard the Serenity Prayer, but in 2005 I received a little book from my colleagues at work during a "goodbye function". The book was published by Zondervan and written by Snapdragon Editorial Group. It breaks the prayer up paragraph by paragraph with little discussions and quotes from Scripture and other well-known writers, philosophers and preachers/evangelists.

I have to be honest, I've never read the book from beginning to end; rather from middle to end, front to middle. Whenever I saw it laying around, when in need of inspiration, when I'm looking for a specific piece of Scripture and don't know where to start, when someone needs a quote for some or other reason, when I'm bored etc.

Though I don't read the prayer that much anymore I'm still challenged by others thoughts on in, the Scripture linked with it and others reaction on it.

So, what's your thoughts?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

He Left the 99 to Find Me

He Left the 99 to Find Me

Sharing a testimony is an excellent way to end the week :-) Also visit the rest of  Jessica's blog as well as the Moju Project.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Beautiful Thailand

I never thought that Thailand and specifically Phuket would be so beautiful and full of surprises. It was one of those planned "unplanned" holidays. Wanting to go to India and things not working out we were a bit disappointed and depressed... But then we thought, what about Thailand? And so it was planned in a week, yip a week c",)

So, the first pictures are from Wat Chalong Temple in Chalong. The main religions in Thailand been Buddhism and Hinduism and Sea Gypsies.

Chalong Pier at Chalong Bay is the main harbour. Speedboats, long-boats etc launch from here to the different islands.

 The best way to get around in Phuket is with a scooter. Though I've never seen so many scooters in my life I've enjoyed exploring Phuket on the back of one. Phuket is about 21 kilometers by 43 kilometers and easy to explore by scooter. Except the up-hills.... that's going very slow or not at all.

Almost every house and business in Phuket has little bird cages. Wish I could bring one with!
Most of the houses and businesses have shrines out front.
 Island life ... Coral Island or Koh Hae 9 kilometers southeast from Phuket. Beautiful, restful, perfect weather and kind and gracious people. The island is known for its beautiful corals, thus the name.

Speaking of uphills, the Big Buddha of Phuket on top of Mount Nakkerd at Soi Chaofa is a huge tourist attraction. This is the world's biggest Buddha statue, constructed of reinforced concrete casting, adorned with white jade marble-Suriyakanta. The dimensions are 25.45 meters wide and 45 meters high. And trying to reach it by scooter was not possible. We had to pay someone to take us up with his vehicle and bring us back down ;-)

Needless to say I've enjoyed every second in Thailand. The people are friendly and helpful, the weather was perfect and the cuisine excellent! I will definitely visit the island and her beautiful people again.

Related Posts with Thumbnails