Lesson for life: “learned helplessness”. 

Lesson for life: “learned helplessness”.

“Learned Helplessness” is a behaviour found in animals & humans who have undergone painful situations repeatedly & found themselves unable to overcome them. 

Next time, when they face the same set of aversive stimuli (painful situations), they accept that “the situation is out of their control” & hence do nothing to change it & give up trying. 

The  credit for the “learned helplessness”, goes to American psychologist Martin Saligman

Is “learned helplessness” visible in real life? 


¬ when a student fails in a particular subject even after making lots of efforts, gives up trying & considers himself to be poor at that subject

¬ a guy accepts himself to be “ugly” when a girl rejects him & starts to consider himself as unworthy 

¬ cycle of poverty : a child born in a poor family may think poverty is inescapable (learned helplessness) & hence will give up on “future planning” & will live in the present & thereby risking the coming generations to be born into poverty.

Is there way out? 

Yes. There is always a way out. There are ways to prevent or lessen the impact of “learned helplessness”. 

¬ whenever you find yourself in a very complex situation, think on the lines “there should be a way out”. 

¬ never give up trying. Past has no connection to your present. The experience you had in past is never repetitive because the time has changed, you have changed, people around you are different, etc. 

¬ most importantly never take failures “personally”. Sometimes, you just fail irrespective of your efforts. Do not allow the failures in the past to define your present or future. 

There also exists the concept of “learned optimism”, that is you can learn to be optimistic in life. It will help you to fight the battles that seem to be impossible to you.

What’s there for UPSC aspirants? 

You can succeed in the exam if you remain focused & keep giving your best irrespective of your past performances. Cheers°

With Great Love, 

Er. Amit Yadav



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