In this series we see how hope requires both self-reliance, and also a belief that the world will be a safe place. As we look at the need for trust and hope, we can see that when a rat did not feel it had the self-sufficiency to survive it gave up quickly. When a rat felt that their world was going to offer survival, it gave everything to keep going. Hope requires both, the belief that we can achieve our goals, and also the belief that we can somehow impact our environment.
The reality is that we don’t know what our environment will bring. We can prepare as much as we want but we are all only one phone call away from our world falling apart. However, we are also only one phone call away from our world being better than ever. Our environment can bring many surprises, but that doesn’t mean we can’t prepare ourselves (in a healthy way, not a tinfoil hat wearing, stockpiling AR15s, and a belief that everything is out to get us kind of way) to meet challenges head on.
The most important thing to take away from this series is that hope is learned. Contrary to the idea some people have that if you lend support to someone they will come to be reliant on it and keep expecting help, this experiment shows us that if you offer hope people will work harder to stay afloat. This means that if we are in a situation where we have the ability to help someone out of a sticky situation, we should do so. We will be helping them to be stronger in the future and will encourage them to help others. If we leave people to struggle unless someone else comes along and offers support, the future is bleak. We can truly turn someone’s future around simply by offering a helping hand, so why wouldn’t we take the opportunity to do so if it arises? We may also be the change we want to see in the world.
Here are today’s three takeaways:
1 – We cannot know what is around the corner, but if we help each other we can help people to not be afraid of the future.
2 – If we support people, this does not teach people to become reliant, it teaches that the world will help them, and they will work harder to keep going.
3 – Everyone who has ever made something of their life had someone who believed in them. No one has ever been able to make it alone. If we can be the difference in someone’s life, we should be.
Overall, the message to be learned is that there are three components to achieving goals and being successful. Two areas we own – self-belief in our ability to achieve our tasks, and a belief we can change our world. The third is believing the world will be good to us, and the world delivering on this belief. Of these, I have come to believe that the last of these components is the most important because unless that happens, and unless we positively impact others, how can the first two be learned?
Richter, C. P. (1957). On The Phenomenon Of Sudden Death In Animals And Man. Psychopathology, 19(3), 191-198.
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