Category Archives: Locus of Control

The Pursuit of Happiness and the Freedom to Succeed

As our nation wraps up its celebration of Independence Day, I am reflecting on the meaning of the day. It is a day that celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence which guarantees the unalienable rights of all U.S. citizens. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.

The Declaration of Independence paved the way for every citizen in the United States to pursue their dreams and to create for themselves their version of the American Dream. A CBS News/New York Times Poll, conducted in 2009 asked Americans to define the American Dream:

  • 27% of the participants defined it as “freedom and opportunity”
  • 18% as being successful
  • 13% as financial security and a job
  • 9% as having a home
  • 16% as happiness/peace of mind.

In a 2014 poll conducted by the marketing firm DDB and reported by NBC with the heading “American Dream Lives, but Few People Recognize It” less than half of Americans over the age of 18 believed they were living the American Dream. The authors of the article suggested that people who have lived in this country for a long time think of the American Dream as the accumulation of wealth.

What constitutes wealth? In the book The Millionaire Next Door authors Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D. and William D. Danko, Ph.D. tell us that “Self-employed people make up less than 20% of the workers in America but account for two-thirds of the millionaires”.

I think we can all agree that a net worth of $1,000,000 would be considered wealthy; however, not every person has the ability to become an entrepreneur. It certainly is not for the faint of heart. But I do urge more people to consider the risks vs. rewards of owning a business.

“A professor once asked a group of sixty MBA students who were executives of public corporations this question: What is risk? One student replied “being an entrepreneur!”

His fellow students agreed. Then the professor answered his own question with a quote from an entrepreneur: What is risk? Having one source of income. Employees are at risk….They have a single source of income. What about the entrepreneur who sells janitorial services to your employers? He has hundreds and hundreds of customers….hundreds and hundreds of sources of income.” (From The Millionaire Next Door)

Does investing in a franchise insure success in a business opportunity? That is a question asked by many and answered by most franchise brokers as yes – investing in a franchise increases your potential for success. As a franchise consultant, I tend to disagree. The number one factor in determining an individual’s success in any business endeavor is that person’s locus of control.

According to psychology professor Philip Zimbardo, 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).

You can determine your Locus of Control by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do you believe that you can achieve anything that you set your mind on and are you willing to work hard and commit yourself to your goals?
  • Do you feel that you will do well on an exam if you study hard and are prepared for it?
  • Do you believe that there is no such thing as fate or destiny?
  • Do you believe that dedication and effort creates your success-not luck?
  • Do you believe that given the long run, people tend to get what they deserve in life?

If you have answered yes to some of the questions above, then you probably have an internal locus of control. So back to the original question ‘Does investing in a franchise insure success in a business opportunity?’ My answer is maybe. Stay tuned for our next post.