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Blog: Ignite Your Energy and Grow Your Life!
3 P's in a Pod - Can You Shell Them?

Do you feel like you consistently sabotage your own good intentions and don't understand why?

Welcome to the world. The road to you know where is paved with good intentions, yes?  But there's a simple answer for this self-sabotage.

For most of us, failing to actually follow through on our good intentions (like healthy eating and exercise) on a consistent basis can usually be traced to a certain style of thinking that many people use to explain to themselves why they do what they do and why they get the results they get. Psychologists often refer to this "attributional style" as learned pessimism.

The 3 P's in the learned pessimism pod work like a self-fulfilling prophecy. 
You expect to have problems, and sure enough, you do. And these problems seem to come from within you, not from the outside, which makes it seem like you are deliberately sabotaging yourself. There isn't any "real reason" why you continually fail to follow through on your plans, you just do.

But there is a reason this keeps happening, and it's mostly in your head. If you're a learned pessimist, you probably have three basic assumptions about why you have such a hard time sticking to your good intentions:

1. You assume some personal flaw or characteristic (weakness, incompetence, lack of will power, self-indulgence, etc.) is responsible for the problem. Often, this goes hand-in-hand with the assumption that, when you are in fact successful, it must be due to something external to you—luck, assistance, or something about the situation. In other words, you personalize failure and externalize success.

Not surprisingly, people who are usually successful tend to follow the opposite pattern: they externalize failure and internalize success.

2. You assume that this personal flaw is permanent, some unchangeable trait you will always have to contend with, rather than something that can be rectified through education, practice, planning, support, or personal growth.

Again, the most successful people tend to do the opposite. They assume that a personal shortcoming can be changed or worked around—if they put in the appropriate effort.

3. You assume that the personal, permanent flaw is also pervasive—that it affects all areas of your life, not just the problem at hand. Thus, everything that doesn't go the way you want just confirms your pessimistic assumptions about yourself. And since you think you can't change this flaw, it's almost impossible for you to learn from negative experiences and make appropriate changes in behavior.

Together, these three assumptions--Personal, Permanent, Pervasive-- become the Three P's of Failure. They make it very hard to stay motivated, and to change your behavior.

posted on: 6/23/2009 9:30:00 AM by Robin Stephens
category: Time Management

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Ignite Your Energy and Grow Your Life!

by Robin Stephens

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