article is part of a series called Antivirus
For Your Mind.
YOU HAVE opportunities to become more capable
on the job, in your relationships, in just about anything
and everything you do. Opportunities to learn come up all the
time. And becoming more capable makes you feel good about yourself,
increases your motivation, and gives you confidence.
And how does a person become more capable?
By overcoming obstacles and persisting with goals. There is no
Okay then, how do you become more persistent?
Not by willpower. Are you listening to me? The hard way to become
more persistent is by sheer willpower. The easy way and
the way that makes you far stronger and feel better too
is by improving the way you explain setbacks to yourself.
If you are trying to find love, for example,
the explanations you make of your setbacks will determine how
successful your search will be (and how much fun you have doing
When a shy young man asks a girl out on
a date and she turns him down, will he ask her again (or ask
someone else)? Or will he decide hes a loser, that hell
never get a date, that nobody loves him, etc. How things eventually
turn out for him depends quite a bit on how he explains setbacks
like these. He could become a withdrawn adult who aches to have
a close relationship but never does. Or he could rise to the
challenge, learn what he needs to learn, and persist, and become
Good explanations of setbacks and bad explanations
of setbacks both tend to become self-fulfilling prophesies that
accumulate evidence to support them as life rolls along.
So you want to feel better and accumulate
evidence that you are capable? Would you like things to go your
way more often? Of course you would! All you need to do is think
Read the next chapter: Can
We Just Avoid Explaining Setbacks Altogether?