Learned Helplessness

Learned Helplessness

Sometimes, if we don’t have success after repeated attempts to do something, we can lose confidence and eventually give up trying. It’s called “learned helplessness” (we learn to be helpless).

Give more check…

Are there any areas where you and your team have stopped trying (or try, but with little commitment) because prior repeated failures and/or a perceived inability to succeed has trained you not to try?

In motivating and improving team attitudes and cooperation? With customer care improvement initiatives?

When you have a moment in the coming weeks, identify any possible trends where “learned helplessness” could be taking hold in your world. Then, give some consideration to how you can deliberately minimize it and begin a trend of “learned optimism.”

Here’s an interesting take on it from a class at Penn State Erie…

Cross the line. Encourage commitment and perseverance

Martin Seligman is a psychologist credited often for coining the term “learned helplessness”. To learn more about him, his approaches, and his near drowning experience with the late Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton in Hawaii, visit this University of Pennsylvania alumni newsletter (circa 1999). The story about his daughter catching “the world’s preeminent authority on optimism” on his own grouchiness is particularly awakening (last few paragraphs of the first page).