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What is Learned Helplessness and 6 Ways You Can Unlearn It?
The impact of learned helplessness psychology

What is learned helplessness and what are six ways you can unlearn it through learned optimism? | Brought to you by Athletic Greens ( and Trade Coffee Company ((

Do you know people who never seem to take action to change their negative situations for the better? For example, an alcoholic may repeatedly try and fail to quit drinking. Have you ever felt you had no promising future? Do you ever feel out of control and unable to address the unpredictability of your life? Have you ever wondered what the cause of this behavior is?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, then you may be experiencing what is known as learned helplessness.

What is Learned Helplessness?

Learned helplessness is when a person feels that their efforts no longer mean anything, and they feel helpless in their attempts to overcome these negative situations for the better. Instead, this perceived lack of control becomes a trained behavior in believing they are helpless and unable to experience joy or optimism in their life.

Learned helplessness is a thought disorder (similar to a distortion) where a person believes they are powerless. It is commonly caused by either repeated failures or a traumatic event(s). It is particularly acute when people experience repeat bad situations and develop a feeling that their lives are inevitable or unchangeable.

When we feel helpless and see the loss of hope in our lives, we relinquish the capacity to feel joy and believe that life cannot feel more promising than its current state. 

John R. Miles

Listen to the episode on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPodcast AddictPocket CastsStitcherCastboxGoogle PodcastsAmazon Musicor on your favorite podcast platform. You can watch the interview on YouTube here.

Please Enjoy!

In This Week’s Episode, John R. Miles Explores Learned Helplessness Psychology

  • What is learned helplessness psychology and who first created the concept?
  • How do we learn to be helpless?
  • Learned helplessness psychology through the Baby Elephant Syndrome.
  • What does it mean to learn helplessness?
  • Learned helplessness psychology: what factors affect our ability to help ourselves?
  • What are the consequences of learned helplessness?
  • How do you go from learned helplessness to learned optimism?
  • Six ways to unlearn learned optimism.
  • Have any questions, comments, or stories you’d like to share with us? Drop us a line at [email protected]m!
  • Connect with John R Miles on Twitter at @John_RMiles and Instagram at @John_R_Miles.

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127 | Six Steps to Unlearn Learned Helplessness Psychology | Passion Struck with John R. Miles
127 | Six Steps to Unlearn Learned Helplessness Psychology | Passion Struck with John R. Miles

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* Martin Seligman’s Interview on learned helplessness

Quote by John R. Miles about learned helplessness and depriving ourselves of a life at all

* Click here for the transcript.

* Angela Duckworth’s Grit Scale Quiz:

* Angela Duckworth’s Book: Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

* 9 Simple Ways to Create Work-Life Balance:

* Baby Elephant Syndrome:

* Learned Helplessness at Fifty: Insights from Neuroscience:

* PLOS One research:

* American Psychological Association research:

* Are you having trouble prioritizing yourself? John discusses the importance of self-love in Episode 104

* John explains why materialism is impacting your success and happiness in episode 96.

* Do you know the science of healthy habits? John explores this in-depth in Episode 108.

* Suppose you missed our interview with Jen Bricker-Bauer on Everything is Possible. Don’t panic! You can catch up by downloading it here.

* How do you strengthen your relationship with your best self? Explore episode 110.

About John R. Miles

Passion Struck with John R. Miles album cover for episode 127 on learned helplessness

John R. Miles is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of Passion Struck. This full-service media company helps people live intentionally by creating best-in-class educational and entertainment content. John is the host of the highly popular podcast Passion Struck with John R. Miles.

John is also a prolific public speaker and author. John is the host of the PassionStruckPodcast, a show focused on exploring the mindset and philosophy of the world’s highest achievers to learn the lessons of living intentionally.

Passion Struck aspires to speak to the humanity of people in a way that makes them want to live better, be better and impact. Stay tuned for John’s latest project, his upcoming book, which will be published in the summer of 2022.


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