Have you learned helplessness? Or better still have you ever found yourself in a condition where you felt there is nothing you can really do again and the idea of trying again is no longer an option.
You felt powerless as a result of a traumatic event or a persistent failure to succeed. You felt you have run out of options or choices. You felt defeated.
You felt you were a loser. You felt you cannot help yourself even though you can. That’s learned Helplessness. it’s not true.
In learned helplessness, the fear of failure is usually stronger than the zeal to try again because of its enduring pattern. You give yourself a negative self prophecy.
The theory of learned helplessness began in 1965 through Martin Seligman, a notable psychologist who conducted an experiment to find out how dogs learn and behave.
He held dogs under control on a hammock. He sounded a bell and followed it with an electrical shock.
The pairing of the sound with an electrical shock continued repetitively for a while. Later on, the dogs were placed in a confined box which they could easily jump out of.
Seligman wanted to find out if the dogs would have learnt to jump out of the box to avoid the electrical shocks.
So he sounded the bell without the electrical shock, He observed that the dogs did nothing to help themselves there.
It seems like their mind has accepted their fate.
What Seligman noticed was that the dogs had “learned” that the pairing of the sounds and shocks occurring at random, were unavoidable and didn’t depend on their own behavior.
The dogs could, in fact, just jump out of the box to escape the electrical shock but they have been scripted and have learnt something differently.
This is what some people are going through.
Maybe you have been going through a series of failure, setbacks or disappointment and it looks like it is getting out of hand.
And you feel you are helpless and have no power to improve your circumstances. That’s not true!
You can change your circumstances, you can change what happens to you next time by not letting the negative mental fog settle in your mind.
That cannot be your lot in life.
Overcoming learned helplessness means motivating yourself towards taking deliberate steps, encouraging optimal experiences, positive thinking, positive emotions, an enduring sense of self-worth, paradigm shifting and a healthy development away from impulsive functioning, self concluded prophecies, negative emotion, negative scripting, a fragile sense of self-worth and maladaptive behaviors.
How to Overcome Learned Helplessness
Change Your Script.
Has the lessons of life made you feel that what would be would be? I don’t know how life has been to you or what life has taught you.
But you have to change your script. I mean you may have failed but that cannot be how the story will end.
Change your circumstances in the story line by engaging in it mentally in a happy-ever-after ending.
No matter how many times you have failed or have been disappointed, you can rewrite your script.
To rewrite your script, you must have a paradigm shifting where you unlearn a lot of belief systems, philosophies and mindset.
It’s like forgetting your past. This may mean finding the motivation to painstakingly use positive self-talk, attributing positive emotions or feelings to positive experiences and moving away from a pessimistic explanatory style and moving towards a more optimistic explanatory style.
Engage In Meditative Reflection.
You can work on your positive sense of self-worth and become undefeated against negative events that may occur in your life.
You do this by reflecting back what you would have done differently. Maybe how you could have performed better, improved on your skills and abilities.
Perhaps, there were scenarios you knew that you were not really prepared or you are a student and you did not really read for that test or took more extra lessons.
Or you lack a requisite skills for a particular job or business. The art of reflecting on what caused the persistent failure is a great step in overcoming learned helplessness.
It’s like half way to recovery.
Think For A Positive Change
When ever you are confronted with a persisting setbacks or failure and you feel greatly depressed, there is a temptation to think you can’t help the particular issue.
It could be an underlining habit you have tried stopping such as smoking, pornography or illicit sex. It could be failure in parenting after so many trials.
This thought patterns can sustain depression and may hinder your progressive behaviors towards overcoming learned helplessness.
Thus, you have to make up your mind to think positively and see a change approaching. Yes! our thought patterns are very important.
How do you do this? You first identify the problem then brood over It for a solution continuously till you find the change you desire.
Because, if you identify the problem but don’t brood over what caused it and how to find your way through. You will still find yourself in the rot.
Moreover,you know that if a method you have been using consistently has not yielded to your expectations, then another method should be applied.
That’s what I call ‘Thinking for a change’.
Failure Is An Event Not A Person.
Never tell yourself you are a failure. It’s was just an event. Always tell yourself “this one will soon pass”.
Learn the lessons from it. Gain your experiences and move on. Tell yourself “I just learnt, but I can try again”, “I didn’t fail, I gained more experiences”, “I am better of than others who are scared of trying”, “I am a lot wiser now”, “Next time, I will do better”.
All successful people today has one time in their lives failed and you are no exception. It only proves to you that success is just at the corner.
If successful people sit down for an hour and tell you their stories, you will be amazed. What was their staying power?
They knew that they could not change their negative outcomes but they could change their responses to those negative events.
Do you know that the inventor of the electric bulb tried over an 100 times before he saw a breakthrough?
You see, people don’t usually see the pain and tears behind those smiles.They just see the outward successes. You are not alone.
Finally, I want to tell you that you are getting out of that situation that has made you Helplessness. You can’t just sit there and do nothing. But you really have to believe what I am saying.
“If you think you can, You will. If you think you can’t, you are right”
The choice is yours.