Truly, what we think can build a great difference in what the reality is. This is exactly what Robert J. Trotter contends.
In his own words Trotter (1987) elucidates, “The way we explain the things that happen to us may be more important than what actually happens”. His thesis is heavily laid open the theory proposed by Martin Seligman who explained that the depression occurred as a result of what came be to known as “learned helplessness”. Primarily, his chance encounter in an experiment on dogs conducted in the University of Pennsylvania changed Seligman’s thoughts. The dogs which in an earlier experiment had learnt that they would get a shock did not try to escape this time, for they learnt how to expect that they would have no control over it. “They sat there as if they were helpless” (Trotter, 1987). The same principle is applied to human beings.
Indeed, much of what we are, how we think and behave and how we react over certain situations get constructed as a result of our expectation of what we had learnt earlier. One fails in an examination once. He sits for another examination expecting nothing but failure and submits to his thought that he can not escape failure. Trotter agrees with Seligman’s thesis that this ‘learnt helplessness’ is directly proportional to human depression. In other words, the extent to which a human experiences depression is determined by the extent to which we have learnt how to be helpless.
However, ‘learned helplessness’ theory was not without limitation. Seligman’s students argued with him that not all the uncontrollable bad events produce helplessness and depression. Also, they questioned why would depressed people always lose self-esteem or blame themselves. In order to counter these arguments, he revised the theory to explain the phenomena of ‘explanatory style’. The way we explain things impacts the way we behave. He argued