Helplessness vs Adaptability

Question Gus was asked on Quora today: How is helplessness a learned behavior?

Reply: Learned helplessness is simply a habit of avoiding difficulty.

If you are rescued every time you start to manifest the frustrations and discomforts of experiencing difficulty and disappointment, then you will soon learn to fold quickly all by yourself without any prompting from anyone else.

On the other hand, if you are expected and encouraged to persist in trying to overcome difficulty whenever you encounter it, then you will end up with a superior ability to adapt and thus be set up for life.

One caveat to this is, however, that it is much more helpful to prompt people to overcome difficulty in the areas of their strengths (naturally high aptitude areas) as contrasted with their weaknesses (naturally low aptitude areas). Continuing to demand that someone persist at activities he or she genuinely has no aptitude or passion for can be quite soul-destroying and destructive of self-esteem.

The kid might not be the “chip off the old block” you’d like to think they are. You need to learn how to recognise their natural inclinations and encourage them to develop in those directions.

It’s never too late in life to start doing this with anyone—regardless of their age they will immediately begin to benefit .

Only a few of Gus’s answers on Quora have been copied to this blog. To see more of his material on Quora click here.
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
Posted March 20, 2019 at 4:11 pm by Gus Griffin · Permalink
In: Misc