2.2: Learned Helplessness vs Finding Your Can Do

Buckle up, this is about to get completely fascinating and mind blowing!

Imagine that this is a metaphor for not just YOUR life, but for your children’s too…

(This is why your epic life is NOT selfish, and is even MORE IMPORTANT).

I want to introduce you to the work of Martin Seligman and the theory of Personal Control which combines 2 core concepts: Learned Helplessness and Explanatory Style.

Learned Helplessness is the ‘giving-up reaction’ that is driven by the belief that whatever you do doesn’t matter. More about that soon.

Explanatory style is the manner in which you tend to explain to yourself why events happen. HOW you do this will moderate any tendency towards learned helplessness. For example, an optimistic explanatory style (rather than a pessimistic explanatory style, which can also have its place) leads to resilience and can protect you from the experience of depression, can improve your mental and emotional wellbeing and is generally speaking a more pleasant way of experiencing the world.

More on that over the course, for now, lets get a real feel and picture of what learned helplessness looks like…

The notes from the following video are in the pdf which you can download, for your easy reference. Because there is no assignment with this session this is a good one to listen to (while travelling if that helps) – and you can consider it for your information and insight, should you ever need it.

However, if you have experienced the sort of profound ‘stuckness’ that epitomises learned helplessness, in any aspect of your life, I invite you to use the strategies outlined to change that pattern – for you, and if applicable, for your tamariki or whanau.

So, hypothetically (perhaps) please write down what specifically you would/will do if/when learned helplessness is identified? Yep, by all means, refer to the notes. Feel free to send your answers to me to check/get feedback and develop confidence in your strategy, should you ever need it/them.