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  • Writer's pictureFernando Olivo

Overcoming Learned Helplessness with the Humble Ego

Years ago, I understood that resignation is one of the deadliest and most silent enemies a person could have. It drives people to never believe in themselves and to give up. In some cases, resignation makes people stop believing in themselves and even in life. Nowadays, we understand so much about resignation that we have a fancier name: Learned Helplessness. We should prioritize this psychological phenomenon more.


What is Learned Helplessness? It is when an individual develops a sense of powerlessness and resignation due to repeated exposure to uncontrollable and harmful circumstances.


It was in the 60s when Martin Seligman and Steven Maier started to talk about this during their experiments with dogs. The concept later expanded to explain human behavior, highlighting how prolonged exposure to adverse situations can lead individuals to believe they have no control over their destiny. I want to explore how embracing the Humble Ego can be a powerful tool in overcoming learned Helplessness and regaining control over our lives. Nothing is lost, even when everything inside your head tells you that.


Understanding Learned Helplessness

Learned Helplessness arises from a cycle of perceived uncontrollability. When people experience consistent failures or setbacks and believe their actions do not affect the outcomes, they become conditioned to a deadly state of Helplessness. This leads to a diminished intention to try, as they anticipate failure regardless of their efforts. Learned Helplessness can harm mental health, relationships, and overall well-being, trapping individuals in a negative and sometimes hostile disempowered mindset.


The Humble Ego

As you all know, "Humble Ego" might sound paradoxical, as the Ego is wrongly commonly associated with arrogance and self-centeredness. However, the Humble Ego refers to balanced self-esteem and self-worth. It involves acknowledging one's strengths, limitations, and weaknesses while maintaining a realistic perspective of oneself and the world. Cultivating a Humble Ego allows individuals to embrace personal responsibility without falling into the trap of self-blame or Helplessness.


5 Tips on How the Humble Ego Defeats Learned Helplessness

1. Recognizing Personal Agency: An essential aspect of defeating learned Helplessness is understanding that you possess personal agency, meaning you have the power to influence your own life. Embracing a Humble Ego allows you to recognize your capabilities and accept responsibility for your actions, fostering a proactive mindset.


2. Positive Reframing: Instead of perceiving negative experiences as personal failures, a Humble Ego enable you to reframe them as opportunities for growth and learning. Embracing a growth mindset helps transform setbacks into valuable lessons, empowering you to face challenges with renewed determination. Positive reframing is a guideline to understand what went wrong and what you can change to try things again, expecting a different outcome. How many times do you need Positive Reframing? As many as you need until you get the outcome you want.


3. Seeking Support: Your Humble Ego allows you to recognize when you need assistance and seek support from others without feeling inferior or inadequate. We all need help. All! Engaging in a supportive network can provide fresh perspectives and encouragement, making it easier to overcome obstacles. Seeking Support is a way to learn how to look for different approaches to the same problem. Remember, we all have limitations, but we also have different limitations. What is hard for me could be easier for you.


4. Setting Realistic Goals: While ambition is admirable, setting overly unrealistic goals can lead to repeated disappointments and Learned Helplessness. A Humble Ego helps us to set achievable objectives. Dream big! Do it always! You can climb the 29,029 ft of Everest by starting with small mountains until you are experienced enough to go for Mount Everest. Whatever your Everest is, you can make it one step at a time. I believe in you!


5. Practicing Resilience: Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity. A Humble Ego embraces that setbacks are a part of life but don't define our worth or capabilities. We can weather storms and maintain a sense of empowerment by developing resilience. Resilience is more important than talent. Resilience is more important than knowledge. Sometimes we call luck what, in reality, is resilience. Don't give up. Bounce back. Face reality. Keep trying.



Learned Helplessness can be a horrible obstacle, hindering personal growth and fulfillment. However, by adopting the "Humble Ego," you can reclaim your sense of agency and control over your life. Embracing personal responsibility, positive reframing, seeking support, setting realistic goals, and practicing resilience are potent ways to defeat Learned Helplessness. By integrating these strategies into our lives, we can break free from the shackles of Helplessness and embark on a journey of self-empowerment and growth.


I will finish with my third mantra: "You can't beat me. I am a person who never gives up."


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