I was recently assigned a new paper in my freshmen writing class that fondly reminded me of a term that I had read about in my Psychology textbook. I was told that I would be writing a ten-page paper on whether I thought either luck or hard-work played a defining role in how successful a person becomes. Instantly, I latched on to the idea that luck is the prime reason why certain people become successful. I realized that this paper stemmed from the concept of locus of control, and I am a strong believer in the external locus of control.
By definition, the locus of control is used to describe how much we believe that reinforcers and punishers are either inside or outside of our control. A person with a strong internal locus of control would believe that success is largely due to their own characteristics, efforts, and hard-work. In contrast, a person with a strong external locus of control would believe that success is largely due to chance, fate, and luck.
In my opinion, this is an important concept to understand. What a person believes often shapes who there and how they approach life. For example, a person with a strong internal locus of control may choose to study really hard for a psychology test because they believe hard-work will bring success; however, a person with a strong external locus of control may choose to hope that they know all of the concepts and get asked questions relating to what they already know.
A study regarding whether hard-work or luck plays more of a role in life would be unfalsifiable because there would be no true way to test it. So, the question remains, what is more important in achieving success: hard-work or luck? Will we ever know?
Another good blog regarding the debate how important luck is versus hard-work is located at: