HomeMotivationLearned Helplessness: Let The Monkey Out Of The Cage

Learned Helplessness: Let The Monkey Out Of The Cage

The Monkey In The Cage Principle

Unfortunately learned helplessness, deemed 'the monkey in the cage principle' by Tai Lopez doesn't just affect animals.
Learned helplessness in all too apparent in people too, given the chance learned helplessness will paralyze you in your tracks!

The monkey at the zoo is a fantastic example of learned helplessness - the monkey doesn't try and do anything for itself, social conditioning has taught the monkey that it'll get fed at 6am and 4pm every day, it doesn't have to do a single thing.

The monkey knows it's in an enclosure, it's probably tried to get out a couple of times in the past.

But it's come to acceptance with these terms, it's adopted what Martin Seligman deems 'learned helplessness'.

Even if the cage was opened, the monkey wouldn't try and escape, it's been conditioned to believe any and all attempts are futile.

It's in a cage in its mind.


Are You Helpless?

As I mentioned, learned helplessness isn't only apparent at your local zoo.
People fall into the same mentality.
A series of failures lead to adopting the monkey in the cage mentality.

Perhaps you've tried to lose weight a few times and got stuck after dropping 5lbs on multiple occasions.
Without even considering that you may have miscalculated your calories or not trained hard enough you throw in the towel, you give up and adopt the 'no matter what I do the result will be the same'.

See also
Hedonic Treadmill - Why Your Happiness Is Short Lived

A coach offers to help you with your training and diet.

You dismiss it because you're convinced that nothing you do will allow you to lose that additional weight.

A classic case of learned helplessness.

Perhaps you've taken on a new sales role at a prestigious real estate company.

You've called a number of prospects, none of which are in a position to buy.

You become discouraged and stop following up leads, you've convinced yourself that regardless of how persuasive your opener is and how good the property on offer is no one is going to buy a house or apartment from you.

You've been given a series of red hot leads by your boss but you don't even follow up on them, you've convinced yourself the result will be no difference.

You tell everyone you're a hopeless salesman and give up.

Once again, you're the monkey in the cage. You don't even try. 

Failure Is Everywhere, Don't Fall Victim To Learned Helplessness

Going back to the weight loss example, when it comes to any fitness or business endeavour there's also going to be plateaus - there's going to be ups and downs.
You'll progress and you'll regress at times, that's the nature of the beast.

Seth Godin refers to the progress made to the breakthrough and have success in any field as 'the dip' you must first endure the dip, a period of time comprised of a hell of a lot of effort with minimal progress being seen.

See also
Why You Must Embrace The Suck

It's all in the mind.

Grind through.

Forge your path forward and make any pivots and small changes based on your results (or lack thereof).

The people that fall victim to learned helplessness are the people that don't understand that it's never a smooth road, it's never an easy sail to your desired result.

Put in the work, make changes and don't adopt the monkey in the cage mentality.

The cage is always in your mind.

What's Your Take On Learned Helplessness? Let Me Know In The Comments Below!

Scott J.
Scott J.
I’m SJ. I’m a fitness enthusiast and published author. I transformed my body from a skinny fat 135lbs with 18% body fat to a solid 192lbs at 8% body fat. I became qualified in a field I was passionate about. I founded several online businesses that allow me to pursue ideas and projects in my life that I am passionate about without having to constantly worry about money. I published several eBooks explaining the training and dieting techniques I used to achieve the body I have today. I learnt a plethora of new information on dieting and fitness by reading and applying what I read, to find out what does work and what doesn’t work, because as I’m sure you’ve noticed the health and fitness industry is full of non-sense claims and BS. I found out what was true and what worked for me and applied that knowledge. And you bet I had fun during the whole process.

Stay in Touch

To follow the best weight loss journeys, success stories and inspirational interviews with the industry's top coaches and specialists. Start changing your life today!

Related Articles