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Why Motivational Speakers Are The Key To Overcoming Learned Helplessness


Guest articles > Why Motivational Speakers Are The Key To Overcoming Learned Helplessness


by: Adam Appleson


Pretend for a moment you were a dog being used in an experiment by psychologists Martin Seligman and Steve Maier in 1967. You would have been put in a box from which you could not escape the mild electric shocks Seligman and Maier were applying to you. Gradually, throughout the experiment, you would come to believe that nothing you did would make a difference. ?So you just lied down and gave up trying to escape. You were in a psychological state called learned helplessness. It's a state in which you behaved helplessly in response to unwanted conditions.

Fortunately, Seligman and Maier also wanted to teach you how to overcome learned helplessness.

So after you believed you were helpless, they put you in a box where you could escape from the electric shocks and reconditioned you to believe you could escape. You and every dog in that experiment were now cured of learned helplessness. Even more amazing, all your children who were taught to escape were immune to helplessness for the rest of their lives.

Yes, this is a true story (albeit a more entertaining version) and it can help you take action to succeedin your life.

If really believe you will succeed at an endeavor, don't you tend to try harder?? You'll take all kinds of action and do whatever it takes. Conversely, if you didn't believe you could succeed, you wouldn't take any action. Like the dogs, you would be in a state of learned helplessness. For instance, during high school the famous NBA star Michael Jordan didn't make his high school varsity basketball team. So he just worked harder until he did. Now of course, we all know him as "Air Jordan . "? Don't you think he cultivated a strong belief that he could succeed?

But you're not Michael Jordan? And you're really not sure you can succeed.

That's ok, because there's a simple trick you can use to cultivate the desire and the belief that you can succeed at whatever you choose. You do it by listening to a motivational speaker every day. It doesn't matter who, just pick whoever appeals to you. There's Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar, Anthony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, Brian Tracy, Cheryl Richardson, and a whole host of them out there waiting for you in your local self-help book section.

Why listen everyday?

As human beings, we're creatures of habit, and like to stay in our comfort zones. Maybe we're 20 pounds overweight and would like to lose it, but we tell ourselves things like "well, I just have a slow metabolism" instead of saying things like "well, if I run an extra 3 miles every week, I can probably take it off." In other words, we start coming up with reasons why we feel we can't do something. We start to become like the helpless dogs in Seligman and Maier's experiment.

Listening to a motivational speaker everyday helps you overcome the inertia. When something is repeated over and over again, we start to believe it after awhile. It's why some people grow up Jewish and others grow up Catholic. It's simply a by-product of being exposed to their family's belief systems over a number of years. So applying this same principle, you can get yourself moving towards whatever goal you set for yourself.

This works for everybody, even if you've never felt a sense of accomplishment before.

All you have to do is start reprogramming your thoughts by exposing yourself to people who keep telling you that you are destined for success. If you don't believe it now, gradually you will as long as you keep doing it everyday. Pretty soon succeeding will be as natural as if you were a dog escaping a mild electric shock.That's how you overcome learned helplessness.


About the Author:

If you liked this article, see other psychology and mental health articles at the ZenTactics website.

Adam Appleson has been actively involved in using personal development techniques to promote psychological health and goal-oriented success for the past 11 years. He is the founder of ZenTactics, a website with advice written especially for survivors of abusive and dysfunctional families.


Contributor: Adam Appleson

Published here on: 08-Nov-09

Classification: Development


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