Overcoming Learned Helplessness
Have you ever been in that place where you have done so much, you have tried so many things and none seems to be working? Then you get to the next level where you learn to convince yourself that nothing is going to work? I have been to that place and it’s not a pretty place, it’s not a good place especially if you tell yourself that nothing you do will ever give you what you are looking for. It could be a relationship; it could be healing you are seeking in your area of health or in your mindset.
You have tried one thing after another, you have knocked on that door but nothing is happening. Have you been in that place where you feel helpless? Even animals have these instincts of thinking they are helpless; like dogs where they have tried getting something to no success and they end up lying there helpless thinking that’s it. Tie a goat somewhere for a long time and they will think they can’t free themselves after attempting to set themselves free with no success. Research has been done on elephants where they put this elephant from the time they are tiny and small and tie them to a rope and of course during that time they try to break free but cannot and as they are growing the farmer doesn’t change the rope even when the elephant has grown into a giant elephant. When the farmer decides to untie the elephant, it remains in the same place without moving. So eventually the elephant grows in body but the mind is still the same; the mind that thinks it’s still limited and confined.
The danger of accepting limitations and accepting the confinement of your beliefs is that you become tethered to your beliefs instead of your destiny.
A sense of helplessness is learned as we are growing up as kids. We learn, “I can never please my parents,” “I can never get beyond a certain level, etc.”. The danger of accepting limitations and accepting the confinement of your beliefs is that you become tethered to your beliefs instead of your destiny. Destiny is bigger than your beliefs and yesterday doesn’t equal the future. Your destiny is bigger than what you see and the problem is we confine our stories, our abilities, our potential to what we have experienced already.
As kids, we grow up around this limitation in an environment that tells us how far we can go. We tell ourselves we are only strong up to a certain level but from there we are helpless and can’t break further.
Even if you are a religious person that believes God is good and works through you for your good but got no faith to believe that something bigger and better can happen for you than yesterday, then nothing will change for you. You tell yourself that if God wants you to change, he will help you because you are helpless. Someone in the Bible lay helpless beside a pool for over 38 years until Jesus came to them asking, ‘ what do you want?’ you have to challenge your own self-belief even when Christ is physically present to help you. He can’t help you unless you challenge your own limitation, faith, and belief. Believe that you have what it takes and you are worthy of your destiny.
I tell people that, life is a fight for territory. When you stop fighting for what you want, what you don’t want automatically takes over. You realize you are living a life that is not your destiny. A life that is not of your own conscious choosing. That’s why learned helplessness is so poisonous. It can kill your destiny dead! This is the time to look at your beliefs and to look at where you have tethered your destiny, where you have set limitations; where are you helpless? What goal in the last 5 years have you been pursuing and now you sit down defeated, beaten, and helpless? If you are waiting on God, God is waiting on you because all it takes is your faith. You have to believe that you are capable of creating something new.
You can hit a rock every morning, hit it twenty times, thirty times, same rock, same spot and nothing seems to happen but on the thirty-first day, the rock breaks and you get your breakthrough. Let me ask you, which hit broke the rock? Is it the first hit, second or the thirty-first hit? Every hit counts, many people give up just before their breakthrough. Someone digs all the way to almost breakthrough and just before the breakthrough, they leave. Someone else comes and with one hit gets to their breakthrough with jeff.
My encouragement is, keep going, persist if you believe this is something ties to your destiny, tied to your purpose. If you are not sure, get a coach, get someone who can guide you to have deep conversations to look within. Is this something worth my time? After you have done that, make an agreement within yourself, what are the non-negotiables? What is the thing that is worth going for, no matter what?
The worst disability is internal, the worst blindness is a lack of insight and vision.
There are things you know for sure that, that thing has your name on it but sometimes you have tried so much and failed before that you claim the same even for such things. With that kind of mind, how do you breakthrough? How do you get what you don’t want because you already believe it’s not going to work? You have come to a place of helplessness; you have learned to be helpless. You are living your own self-prophesy.
You need to turn things around, have clarity of the things you want, and then agreed with yourself even before you get a coach, agree on your non-negotiables. Another reason why people go to the helplessness mode is that they know what they want but they negotiate with other forces that are actually against what they want.
You know what you already want, why are you negotiating, go for it? And if you are clear, do it again and again, repetition is the mother of skill. Never get tired of going after something you want. It is never about how much time it takes, it’s about how much you want it. Grow your energy there. The enemy within is the biggest obstacle to getting what you want. We are all human beings created with equal unlimited potential, none is better or special than the other, what differentiates us is the action we take on our potential.
God is so brilliant and amazing in making sure that we all have plain ground. How comes someone without limbs is able to perform better than you? Right now there are celebrities, people touching the world, making great impact and they have no hands and no legs, why? Human beings have the same potential, this is where no one can beat God really, he created us equal. Being a cripple doesn’t make one less worthy or with less potential, you can be anything you decide to be.
The worst disability is internal, the worst blindness is a lack of insight and vision. It’s powerful to realize we all have immense potential but it doesn’t stop there. The difference-maker is the actions we take. However, the state of learned helplessness makes us not take any action. We convince ourselves that we have tried enough. I meet my clients and they tell me, ‘ Jeff, I have tried a thousand times’ then I ask them, ‘ can you name the times you have tried?’ with my pen and notebook ready to write, they only name twice and they believe trying twice is too much. If you try a thousand times, you are going to be a master.
As human beings, we exaggerate the pain we are going through so that we don’t try again. We end up taking our great sweet potential to the grave!
You were made for more and begin to affirm to yourself that now. What beats some of us or drives us to a state of helplessness is our last success. Your last success could be your worst enemy because if all you do is being proud of what you have done then you will never try something new. If another weekend, another month, or another year ends without doing something new reasoning that you have tried enough then you have hit the helplessness mode. Persistence pays, continue hitting that rock and soon water will gush out of it and you will be amazed that you were about to give up! Just when you are about to give up is when the rock is giving in allowing whatever you are looking for to breakthrough with jeff.
May you become one of the leaders that become the pacesetters on this planet. That you don’t look at the circumstances and the conditions surrounding you to decide what’s possible for you. May you be one of the leaders that decide that conditions never decide destiny life coach kenya, decisions do.
Today decide to try again, decide to reach out to that person who hated you, decide to knock on that door again. Today, until this moment you may have lived from a state of learned helplessness that puts a limit on how far you can go. Today still, can be the day you put a stop to it and make a decision to push through the limits. Decide to raise your standards no matter how good you already think you are.
Up until today, the world has not known the exact potential of human capacity. No one knows the human potential capacity in athletics, no one knows how fast a human being can run, no one knows if a human being can fly or not. No one knows the real potential of a human being. For some of us, the only script we have is the script of looking up to others. It’s good to read books, look up to others but your inner voice, that voice of God within you will tell you that there are no limits. When you wake up and look up to the skies and watch the stars, what you see is also happening within you but you have been covered by the dust of disbelief, take off the dust and unleash your star.
I ask myself why I often fail to shine and it’s because I am afraid of shining. Sometimes because I am surrounded by people who have dimmed their light, then I put my limitation on the same level. My mentor Jim Rohn said you are the average of the six people you spend your time with and human beings are conditioned to decide how far they can go by looking at the people around them.
When you look at the people around you, look at your finances, you realize everyone is earning just about or a little bit more or less than you are earning. Birds of a feather flock together. A friend of mine told me he changed his inner circle and in one year he used to earn 100,000 per month, he earned 400,000 by just changing his clique of friends. He up-leveled to the kind of friends that were talking differently, earning One plus million shillings per month, and immediately his philosophy began to change. It’s time you began to invite your greatness, take action by revising the people around it. Get around people that match your ambitions, where people talk about healing from the past and about breakthroughs. Not people who remain in their victim mentality that’s how they have always been. How much do they pay you to remain in that group, move out?
Someone said you can’t help the poor by being one of them. Sometimes you want to break out to help others to breakthrough. If you find that everyone around you has this limiting belief, then it’s time to get to a bigger boy’s club, to a bigger girl’s club. It’s better you be alone than being around people that think small.
Don’t hang around people who lament that they have tried enough times and have reached the end. Just like the light bulb discovery after 1000 attempts, the inventor concluded that he didn’t fail a thousand times, he discovered 999 times that didn’t work. So no one has really tried enough times. You have been trying to get into a relationship but it’s not working, the problem is not you, change your strategy. You have transitioned to a new career trying to get clients and it’s not working, change your strategy. The strategy doesn’t define you. That’s why having a coach to give you feedback is crucial to help you on the journey.
This is the time to slow down and listen to the voice of your soul. Listen to the voice that tells you there is something within you that is still unleashed and then for a moment suspend your disbelief, suspend the idea that you have tried enough, suspend the idea that you have tried enough, suspend the idea that you are helpless to go beyond what you know. Then ask yourself, ‘what options do I have?’ chose one and go for it. If it doesn’t work, don’t judge yourself, go to option two, give your everything and if it doesn’t work, don’t judge yourself. Move to the next option and try again and again. Repetition is the mother of skill but resigning to a state of learned helplessness doesn’t help you. Some people go to the extent of blaming life, blaming the government, blaming the people around them, your mother, your father but that doesn’t help.
Change begins with you. We all have an area we have limited ourselves. You can be so good in your career, you are at your peak but there is that area, it could be your emotions, it could be your relationships where you put your confinement. Then you build stories of why that is so, ‘ You know, I am a professional therefore I am not emotional.’
You are a human being, you are emotional as they come. Accept yourself and allow your authenticity to understand where you are right now. Make an agreement with yourself that; ‘This is where I am, but this is not where I am going to die. ‘ Understand that challenges come to stretch and expand you. Don’t die in the circle of learned helplessness, challenge your helplessness. Check the areas in your life that you identify as helpless and decide one thing in each area you can do to challenge that learned helplessness. All the best