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Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman Book Summary

 

Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman




Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman Book Summary


Learned optimism by Martin Seligman but first I wanted to thank practical psychology for having me here it really is an honor to present to you guys without further ado here we go in an experiment they took two dogs and put them in two different cages one being a cage with an electric shock that goes off 

When the dog tries to escape and the other being a normal lock when the dog with the normal lock tries to escape he's successful when the other dog with the electric shock tries to escape he gets shocked after a few unsuccessful shocked attempts he just sat back in the corner and gave up they then took 

These two same dogs and put them in the same cage with no shock the dog in the previous cage with no shock got up and escaped the cage with no hesitation however the dog that was in the previous cage with the shock because in the first situation he wasn't able to leave the cage without getting shocked 

He simply doesn't even try to get out even though he can if he wanted to and this is what is called learned helplessness you probably know someone or is that someone who acts like this helpless dog pissing away the prime years of their life due to their pessimist thinking people 

Who are pessimists believe that bad events are their fault and that it will last a long time undermining everything else they feel helpless and may sink into depression now the exact opposite of this is learned optimism? 

Optimism is a hopeful outlook for the future if you think your tomorrow will be better than today then you're being optimistic that better things are to come and this is what Seligman explains in his book 

He explains that the reason a lot of people lack an optimistic mindset is because the brain's default mechanism is to think like that of a pessimist the good thing about all of this is that the brain is like any other muscle in your body with enough persistence and conditioning it will grow to be stronger than what it was yesterday so to sum it all up Martin Seligman says that it all boils down to persistence 

Persistence is staying consistent and continuing on when you're able to remain more optimistic you're able to stick with the process and stay on the path that  you're trying to achieve and overcome many obstacles on the way then a pessimist person would 

When you simply see more opportunities let's say you know business or a goal you're trying to achieve you try more things because more opportunities present themselves so when that happens do you think that makes you more successful or less successful of course it makes you more successful 

There's no way you can be unsuccessful if you're super persistent and if you're very hopeful if you are willing to try everything you can to achieve that goal or make whatever it is work 

Yet still remain hopeful and still remain cheerful and confident so you can see how important it is to have optimism as a personal trait like I'm sure you can see all the places in your life where 

If you kept on pushing you could have done so much more or achieved your goal how many times have you fell off that diet how many times have you procrastinated in school or on a project you're passionate about how many times have you been a victim of your own thoughts and believe that you can't achieve anything bigger than a 95 corporate job Martin tells us 

That again the good thing about all this is that it is something that can be cultivated just like everything in life it is a skill you must acquire and learn in order to perform 

It right and once you start executing on your plants and you start seeing result Martin tells us that you then enter a state referred to as flow but till then you have to really build up your optimism to get to that level Martin Seligman gives us this take away from the book 

That optimism is explained and that the main difference is the explanatory style the explanatory style is the way that you explain and the way you attach meaning to the stuff that are happening in your life 

So literally both a pessimistic and an optimistic person can be faced with the same exact challenge but the question is what kind of explanation are you assigning to this situation 

So let's try to understand the explanatory styles by using the example of getting a flat tire on your way to work so you can better visualize this and compare it to the way you think about the outcomes in your life Martin tells us that these three explanatory styles is ultimately 

What leads to thinking like that of an optimist or that of a pessimist explanatory style number one temporary versus permanent this asked the question how permanent is the problem 

So let's say you're on your way to work and you get a flat tire an optimistic person would say you know it's just a flat tire this is not even a big problem and the grand scheme of my life it means nothing 

I will fix it in a few hours in tomorrow it won't be an issue at all now a pessimistic person would say oh my god I got a flat tire how did this happen and oh my god how long is it gonna take to fix and in his mind he built it up as if 

It affects his whole entire life as if it is permanent and he has no way out and when you think a problem is permanent you simply block all the resources of changing it you're basically powerless and a victim because there is nothing that you're looking forward to 

So it only makes sense that the optimistic person who can limit the problem and contain it to a small degree will be much better and much more resourceful in such situation the second explanatory style is pervasiveness which pretty much concerns 

How Y spreads something is how much of my life is affected by this problem this ask the question will this underline everything how pervasive is this and how much does it affect my life so let's say an optimistic person would say you know it's just a flat tire all it affects is now and today 

I mean yes I'll be late for work and I might miss that 8 a.m. meeting but it's ok it just worked I can make it up it's not like my life and health and relationship is in jeopardy now a pessimistic person on the other hand allows their negative thoughts to spread like freaking cancer 

Now what was a local problem which was this flat tire becomes a global problem and it had affects his whole entire life he tells himself now this flat tire means that I'll be late for work which means that my manager might fire me or yell at me and that's gonna make me very very angry which 

Then will cause me to go home upset and argue with my wife for being late and now my whole life is corrupt all of this over a flat tire these negative thoughts spread in their mind literally like cancer the third and final style is personalization which pretty much asks how personal is this problem 

So for an optimistic person whenever there is a problem like a flat tire he would tell himself you know I'm not responsible for this problem and when something good happens to him he takes credit for it for example they would say okay I got a flat tire you know it was just bad luck 

I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and drove over a nil it's not my fault and when something good happens like a promotion at work they say yup that's me I worked hard for this all year straight I earned this I stayed focused I beat sale records 

I got the promotion through hard work and dedication this was all me now a pessimistic person would say getting it why wasn't i more careful this always happens to me and in his mind he blames himself and the exact opposite of that when something positive happens a pessimistic person tends to be humble and doesn't take credit like if they got that same promotion they would say oh you know the company just needed somebody 

I just happened to be in the right place I mean anybody could have done it it wasn't me that attracted that promotion it was the company anybody could have got it I just happened to be the one

So this is basically the deciding factor between an optimistic and pessimistic thinker just imagine how much this affects your willingness to go out and take action in the real world when you think you're responsible for good and not bad things then you're able to act and feel hopeful 

If you're thinking the opposite and not hopeful you're basically guilting and limiting yourself for no reason we want you to go ahead and write down five things that you're hopeful about in the next day the next week or even the next month or a year 

It can be anything maybe that one vacation you've always wanted to take or maybe a relationship you're looking for or maybe that promotion that you're trying to get at work maybe you want to have all your credit cards eliminated or achieve a certain weight goal or graduate college whatever it is be specific and full what really motivates you 

I want you to notice how you feel now I want you to notice how you feel before doing the exercise and I want you to notice how you feel when you're finished if you're like most people you will feel very very hopeful and motivated to go out there and execute on your plans you feel optimistic fully charged and happy to be alive the reason for this is because 

Now your life and goals are right in front of your eyes you've articulated it in a clear way and now it's right in front of you you're able to see where you're at and where you can be and that ultimately gets you back connected with what you're supposed to be doing 

If you're a super-super pessimistic thinker because of the conditioning over the years don't worry optimism is something that can be learned optimism is like a dying fire and your awareness of it is the lighter fluid with enough awareness that dying fire can burst into a huge flame.

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