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Learned Helplessness

Monish Subherwal

From wikipedia, “Learned helplessness theory is the view that clinical depression and related mental illnesses may result from a perceived absence of control over the outcome of a situation.”

Why don’t circus elephants just escape?

The best example of learned helplessness I can think of relates to elephants in the circus.  An elephant in the circus is maybe 1000x more powerful than the tether it is tied to.  Why doesn’t it just run off?  It surely can kill it’s captors.

Here’s why it doesn’t.  The elephant was brought in as a baby.  It was tied to the tether and learned it could not escape no matter how hard it tried.  Later in life, when the elephant was MUCH BIGGER — the same beliefs continued.  It still believes it cannot escape the tether.

How This Relates to YOU

Just like circus elephants, we too pick up limiting beliefs and ideas.

We sometimes don’t attempt great things because we had failed in the past.  We don’t even think it’s possible. And we get mad or sad about it.  We start to depend on our job or others for the things we want, because we don’t feel like we have control over our outcome.  Pretty sad no?

I’ll write an article on how to shatter limiting beliefs soon.