Freedom from the trap of mastered helplessness (2)

Happy birthday to Uncle Jimi Solanke, one of the living legends of the creative arts in Nigeria, an accomplished thespian whose interpretation of roles made him bestride the stage of live theatre with ease and aplomb. He turned 78 last Saturday, 4th of July.

Children don’t have a sense of what is impossible until adults begin to interfere with their thought processes. A child would dare to touch a flame or even attempt to play with a snake, oblivious of its venomous propensity!

How could big elephants be domesticated and conditioned for circus performances instead of roaming in the wild, their natural habitat? The elephant is captured in the wild when it is still young and tied down with a big iron chain or very thick rope. Several times, it would tug at the restraining rope in obvious rebellion against its new restricting reality. But of course, it would feel pain and give up trying until it becomes convinced that it is not worth the struggle. As time goes on, the rope is changed to something less thick. As the elephant grows, the rope becomes thinner until it is so thin that minimum effort on the elephant’s part would have seen it walking away free. But the elephant is oblivious of that. Its mind is already conditioned by the referenced experience of pain that it had stopped trying to escape. At that point, its domestication for the circus begins. The chain has effectively moved from the leg to its brain! Mastered helplessness has become framed hopelessness.

Once we conclude on what constitutes our impossibilities based on the pains we felt while trying, we frame it into an abiding narrative of hopelessness that eventually develops into a siege mentality which in turn makes us prisoners of our limitations. When our desires conflict with our reality, frustration and depression are the end result. Left unchecked, it can result in passive indifference and a sense of fatalism that simply surrenders to opposing circumstances with little or no resistance.

The first step in getting out of the quagmire is to acknowledge your situation and have a desire to change the crippling narrative. Denial of a reality does not make it go away! The story of the prodigal son in the Bible is a very instructive process in reversing mastered helplessness. It is found in Luke 15 of the Holy Bible. I have no intention of going into the intricate details of the story but will only concern myself with what is relevant to our discourse.

After spending everything he got as inheritance from his father, he was abandoned by even those who had partaken of his debauchery. Left high and dry, forlorn and forsaken, he came to the lowest possible ebb in his life. For survival, he had to take a job in a piggery where hunger made him desire to partake of the pigs’ food but he was not even obliged! ‘Helplessly’ pitted and potted in a quandary, he came to that point of self-awareness where he acknowledged that he had a problem and needed to solve it once and for all. As the story goes, “he came to himself”. In an apparently helpless situation, the first thing you need to take control of is your emotions, not the condition. If you could control the situation, you would have prevented it from happening. Perception is what shapes possibilities.

Depression and anxiety pangs sometimes produce symptoms of certain diseases which are simply the body’s responses to stress and emotional exhaustion rather than any physiological cause. So they are known as psychosomatic diseases. Whenever the emotions that produce them disappear, usually so do the diseases if they haven’t caused some chronic damage to the body. To remedy such situations, doctors prescribe tranquilizers known as anxiolytics.

Having come to terms with your emotions and the situation, you need to take a decision to change the situation for the better. Having weighed his options, the young man in the story said to himself, “I will arise and go to my father”. It is necessary to move beyond intentions to quality decisions.

The next thing to do is to use the same power of your memory that locked you into your current helplessness to change your referenced experiences and frames by meditating on the positive and empowering things you experienced in the past. He reminded himself of how things were in his father’s house. He recalled that even servants in his father’s house had more than enough to eat and to spare. He was able to replace his feeling of hopelessness with the empowering picture of abundance that he was able to paint and focus on.

Read inspiring stories of people who turned adversity to advantage. Two popular Nigerian musicians fall into this category. They are Yinka Ayefele who emerged into the centrestage of prominence after a debilitating automobile accident left him wheelchair-bound. Cobhams Asuquo is a singer. Not only that, he is one of the finest keyboardists and music producers in Nigeria. But he is blind. He has overcome his limitations.

Even intentions and decisions are not enough. You need to take specific action steps in the direction of the change that you seek. Soon after he said, “I will arise”, the story continues by saying, “He arose”. A decision that is not backed by definite action is nothing but an unattainable mirage. Several achievements are locked up in the belly of good intentions that never had the strength of decisions or decisions that never materialized for lack of action.

Some years ago, I read a book titled, “ALL YOU CAN DO IS ALL YOU CAN DO…” authored by A.L. Williams. It was one of the books that changed my life and orientation. According to him, all you can do is all you can do. But all you can do is enough. And I add, as long as you are sure that that is all you can do! Take baby steps and celebrate even the small successes. Great men are not great because of the great things they do or did but because they learnt to do small things in a great way.

Whatever you can do is better than sitting on your bums and meditating on your helplessness. Every small move teaches you a new lesson and puts a distance between you and the current status quo. If the prize is worth it, then the price is payable! Every baby learns to walk one step at a time. In the process, they fall down several times and even injure themselves while trying to stand up. Sometimes, they have to lean on things or people for support. But one thing is certain. They never stop trying. If that is how you learnt to walk, perhaps you need to remind yourself that if you scored such a victory as a toddler, you can repeat the feat several times over as an adult!

Don’t give up on yourself. Say to yourself at the beginning of every challenge, “It’s DOABLE and I will DO IT!” Then, if you are convinced that it’s worth it, DO IT!

Remember, the sky is not your limit, God is!

 

YOU SHOULD NOT MISS THESE HEADLINES FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

Nigeria Records 603 New COVID-19 Cases, Total Now 28,167
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed 603 new cases of COVID-19 in the country, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 28,167… Read Full Story

COVID-19: Why govs, others are more at risk —Medical experts
MEDICAL experts have spoken on factors that are capable of putting governors and other key political leaders on the first line of the coronavirus pandemic in more danger. They, however, dispelled as untrue the notion that the incidence of COVID-19 is higher among political office holders or health workers as many people assume… Read Full Story

UN Suspends Air Services As Terrorists Attack Chopper In Borno
The United Nations (UN) on Saturday announced a suspension of humanitarian air services in the northeast following the latest attack on one of its helicopters in Borno… Read Full Story

Buhari Appoints Pam As Christian Pilgrims Commission Executive Secretary
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Rev Yakubu Pam as the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC)… Read Full Story

Appeal Court Upholds Yahaya Bello’s Election As Kogi Governor
The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division on Saturday affirmed the election of Yahaya Bello as the duly elected governor of Kogi State… Read Full Story

MFM To Begin Another 30 Days Prayer Retreat
The General Overseer of Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries (MFM), Dr Daniel Olukoya, has directed that members to extend the ongoing 30 Days Prayer Retreat which marks third session… Read Full Story

109,823 N-Power Beneficiaries Now Business Owners ― Minister
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, says no fewer than 109,823 beneficiaries of the N-Power Programme are now business owners… Read Full Story

Who Flies APC Flag In Ondo?
EXCEPT the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) handles the primary election or selection of its candidate for the Ondo State governorship election carefully, the party in the state may be heading towards another round of crisis similar to the one that engulfed it in Edo State recently which may cause it to… Read Full Story

No Difference Between PDP, APC —Olateru-Olagbegi
Martins Kunle Olateru-Olagbegi is an aspirant of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) in the forthcoming governorship election in Ondo State. He speaks with HAKEEM GBADAMOSI on the preparedness of the party… Read Full Story

VOICE OF COURAGE:  E No Finish?
The controlling leadership of ACN got a casual job in 2015 and took it like a mega contract. They did more than a month’s job for a day’s pay. They pawned everything in exchange for nothing. All core values were thrown away. The ancient landmarks of the fathers were set aside. Many of the icons in the land were… Read Full Story

GIBBERS: Buhari Isn’t Judiciary’s Messiah (1)
In the last 12 years, salaries of Nigerian judges have not been reviewed. In a review of the development of inflation rates in Nigeria between 1979 and 2019, by Worlddata,the average inflation rate was calculated at 19.2 per cent. Now, hold your breath. The report added “overall, the price increase was 80,304.39 per cent… Read Full Story

Threatened Cooperation! Cooperative Societies In The Cloud Of COVID-19
ALL over the world, especially in Third World economies, one of the platforms through which peoples’ common business dreams and financial needs are crytalised is the cooperative society. A cooperative society is simply a voluntary association of individuals who have come together to pursue their economic goals… Read Full Story

COVID-19: The Church And The New Order
The Church is just one of the institutions that have been caught in the heat of the coronavirus pandemic following the ban on public gatherings for about three months as a way of controlling the spread of the virus by the federal and state governments… Read Full Story

40 Years After, Ayinla Omowura Remembered With Album
As part of the activities to mark the 40th year anniversary of the exit of Apala icon, Waheed Ayinla popular as Ayinla Omowura, an album entitled ‘Anigilaje has been released in his honour… Read Full Story

You might also like
Comments

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. AcceptRead More