According to Martin Seligman, in Learned Optimism (1991), humans learn to be helpless; his findings reflect that when we are faced with an environment that doesn’t foster empowerment for control, we simply give up. This is referred to by Seligman as learned helplessness. Seligman found three ingredients of this learned helplessness, those ingredients are: personalization, permanence, and pervasiveness these three ingredients help us or hurt us depending on how we typically respond to our environment. Seligman speaks of explanatory styles that the optimist and the pessimist apply to their thinking processes. He makes a note of how the explanatory styles are opposite in their responses to succcess. Just as we have learned to be helpless let us be intentional about learning to be optimistic. Being optimistic will help us get through the bad times as well as the good times with greater resilience.
Seligman, M. E. P. (1991). Learned Optimism. New York: Knopf.