Leader, Lotus, and Locus of Control: similarities on a path to growth

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Leader, lotus, locus of control. Similarities on a path to growth

In nature, the lotus is a historical, powerful symbol with significant meaning and meaningful significant.  The flower, which slips under the surface of the water at night only to reappear as vibrant as ever in the morning, is a symbol in many religions of wisdom, awakening, spirituality, and intelligence.

In life, individuals have a locus of control. This is a psychological term coined in the 50’s which has since been developed into a scale, to measure generalized expectancies for internal and external control of events that affect them.

An individual with an external locus of control believes that life events are generally outside of their control. They may appeal to a higher power; believe that everything happens for a reason; and attribute both successes and failures to external forces and circumstances.

Individuals with an internal locus of control, on the other hand, state that they are the leaders of their own lives. They take responsibility for their successes and failures, and believe that they can influence the events that affect them.

Research has shown that people with an internal locus of control are generally more successful than their peers, with better stress management; more job satisfaction; and are more goal and achievement oriented.

Given these traits, it almost goes without saying that business leaders, entrepreneurs, and those higher up in organizational structures have more internal loci of control.

Like a lotus, leaders are awakened; resilient; and thrive in warm, cheerful environments.


As the sun sets over the glistening water, the locust flower begins to furl its petals, close, and slip to the depths of the murky waters of the pond. When the sun rises in the morning, the flower emerges once again, awash with colour and vibrancy.

A similar analogy can be applied to internally-oriented business leaders.

When a successful business leader finds themselves submerged in the proverbial murky pond, the last thing that they do is admit defeat.

Rather, they analyse the situation around them – they see what chain of events caused the situation, and they reflect on what they could have done differently, and what actions and decisions they made to cause the current situation.

Most importantly, they emerge from the pond of problems with a fresh perspective and heightened awareness of how to avoid similar situations in the future. They take action to overcome obstacles.

Regardless of the murkiness of the pond, or the troubling circumstances of the business world, a successful leader will look within themselves to find solutions to a problem and emerge, ready to grow.


The Lotus flower is often seen in the hands of Buddhist deities as a symbol of spiritual awakening. The flower awakens in the morning, spreading its petals open wide, a symbol for many as opening up to the divine truth.

A successful leader is similarly awakened. They, with their internal locus of control, are enlightened to their role in an event or circumstance. They have the ability to take responsibility for a situation – good or bad.

Leaders act proactively, realizing that the fate or future of a company is in their hands. They look to themselves for motivation and direction, and act accordingly.

A perception of control leads to responsibility, analysis, and action.

Letting go of your locus of control

What locus of control do you have? Most have a fairly good idea, but if you’re unsure you can take the test here.

Maybe you’ve found your locus is more external than you think (or a higher power thinks) it should be. Altering your locus is achievable, and often takes immersing yourself in new experiences or challenging your mindset. Examine your self-talk – do you use negative phrases you wouldn’t use on others? Make a list of alternative outcomes or approaches to problems, and understand that you are able to change your situation, just as you can change your mindset.

As with every aspect of life, moderation is important. Ensure you’re aware of and able to take responsibility for your actions, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself to take control of every little thing. Move with the current of the water, as the lotus flower does, while still being in control of your and your company’s fate.

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