The Misconception: If you are in a bad situation, you will do whatever you can do to escape it.
The Truth: If you feel like you aren’t in control of your destiny, you will give up and accept whatever situation you are in.
David McRaney of You Are Not So Smart
The post seeks to address the question of how we learn to give up and accept a difficult set of circumstances rather than try to make things better. It starts with a description of a rather unpleasant experiment performed on dogs by Martin Seligman and moves on to show how humans behave in the same way as the dogs when faced with circumstances we feel are overwhelmingly futile.
Some of the observations made in David McRaney’s post cut very close to the bone but it is nevertheless illuminating for the positive message that I took from it. That is, that while we may fail and fail again we can still improve our lot through focussing on small victories and accomplishments and using these as a springboard to triumphing over the larger issues.
As I said above, I recommend you visit You Are Not So Smart and read about Learned Helplessness and the many other interesting issues presented there.