#1105 Helplessness vs. Optimism

Wolves, Dogs, and Us

In our last couple +1s, we’ve been having fun spending some time with former Navy SEAL Commander and perennial wolf-tamer, Mark Divine.

Most recently, we named our Courage wolf, “Daimon” and our Fear wolf, “Demon.”

(As Dan Siegel and other mindfulness neuroscientists would say: It’s always wise to “Name It to Tame It!”)

I mentioned the fact that I made a note on a piece of paper to make sure I included this Idea in our Mastery Series session on How to Create Antifragile Confidence, Heroic Courage and Response-Ability.

I had a bunch of other ideas already on that sheet of paper.

You know what I had written RIGHT ABOVE “The Two Wolves | Name ‘Em!”?

“Learned Helplessness vs. Learned Optimism.”

The story I’ll tell for THAT wisdom is basically all about Martin Seligman’s research that we discuss in our Notes on Learned Optimism and in this +1 on How to Learn Optimism.

The weird part?

Recall Mark’s description of what happens when we constantly feed the fear wolf: “If you constantly feed fear by thinking about the could-haves, the should-haves, the would-haves, and the can’ts in life—if you allow negative beliefs, attitudes, and conditioned behavior from whatever drama you experienced or stories you adopted—then the fear wolf gets stronger. Eventually he gets so strong that the courage wolf is left cowering, unable to fight back.”

That’s almost a precise description of the “Learned Helplessness” state Seligman induces in his experiments. 😕

The (very!) good news?

We can Learn Optimism.


Well, that’s pretty much what we’re doing every day with these +1s and why we show up EVERY DAY.

One more time: Let’s feed the Daimon-Courage Wolf.


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