Permanent, Personal, and Pervasive
When something goes wrong, be careful how you explain it to yourself. According to Martin Seligman in Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life , A pessimist explains it as permanent, personal, and pervasive. For example, you might tell yourself, “this will never change” or “it’s me” or “nothing ever goes right.” This can lead to learned helplessness or depression. Learned helplessness is when you believe nothing you do matters. This leads to inaction and passive behavior.
An optimist on the other hand, explains it as transient, situational, and specific. For example, you might tell yourself, “this too shall pass” or “it’s the situation” or “in this case, things didn’t go so well.” When you explain it this way, you condition yourself for learned optimism and you empower yourself to take action.
Photo by skippyjon.