Project 13: Personal Direction Questionaire
Project 17: Dynamics of Positive Attitudes

Project 16: Inner-Directed and Outer-Directed People

Inner-Directed people are those who feel that they largely determine their destinies by inner characteristics, attitudes, and resources they develop during their lifetime. By contrast, Outer-Directed people feel they are governed by their environment, institutions, organizations, people, circumstances, and situations in which they happen to find themselves.

The discussion questions in this project are designed to help participants enhance their awareness level regarding their view of life based on their answers to the questionaire in Project 15. My answers indicate I am definitely Inner-Directed. 

Obviously, this awareness can have an impact on how we view our relationships with others, with our organizations, with our jobs, and even with ourselves. If we continually feel directed by outside forces with no power over these relationships, we will take little action to make them better. On the other hand, feeling more control provides freedom and responsibility within these relatioships. For many people that may be a bit frightening. If I have that freedom and responsibility I can't blame others for how my life turns out.

I know that feeling. At those times in my life when I question or regret how my life turned out it would be much easier to blame outside forces. But, as my scores indicate, I can't do that. As the poet William Ernest Henley eloquently expressed in Invictus (cited in an earlier post), I am, to a large degree, the master of my fate.

The last question in this project is probably the most powerful: "How does your self-talk affect your being Inner-Directed or Outer-Directed?" Perhaps the awareness and skill of self-talk is the most powerful within the Adventures in Attitudes program. It will be covered in more detail in future projects, but suffice to say when I am most aware of my self-talk I have the greatest opportunity to impact the direction of control on my life. So listen to how you talk to yourself and decide if your internal discussion is leading you toward being more Inner-Directed or Outer-Directed. Which do want to be? How does this view affect your relationships?

"But", you might ask "what about those situations and environments we have little control over?" "Don't they impact the course of our lives?" I must admit I have had a new appreciation for the impact of situations totally beyond our control such as birth date, family, etc. since reading Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers. He makes a strong case for the power of circumstances beyond our control but he also provides wonderful examples of how people, obiously Inner-Directed, took advantage of those situations. So, as in many aspects of life, there is no simple answer. But being Inner-Directed certainly has its benefits. As I ponder this project anew, I know I will be paying more attention to my self-talk as well as looking for ways to leverage the wonderful circumstances life has dealt me.


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