Re-Inventing Ourselves

MARTIN SELIGMAN, a psychologist, refers to the mindset that results as you seek out help from others time and again. You gradually become less competent at handling your own problems. In an experiment carried out at the university where he was teaching he began research to find out why there are dropouts among the students. He discovered that the students who quit college were those who came from families where they rarely faced any challenges. These students had parents who rushed in with solutions and gave them no opportunities to develop independence or personal authority.

As a result, these students did not know what to do. No one rescued them nor could they rescue themselves. The only ability they had was to approach the right people for help. For e.g. when parents put pressure on authorities to admit their children in schools, colleges and universities, in reality, they are not helping them but destroying their confidence in education.

I know two families, who were our neighbours. One was a cook and his children had problems in paying their fees. Realizing the predicament of their parents, the two sons studied throughout on scholarship, borrowing books and even using ‘calendar-backs’ as notebooks. Ultimately, they became top executives in foreign companies but the unfortunate part was that their parents did not live long to enjoy the prosperity. I saw the photographs of their parents in the prayer room.

There was the other neighbour, whose father was rich, doing successful business. His philosophy was: You can acquire anything in this world if you throw money like crumbs to dogs. As a result, the son became easy going and a flop in studies. He could not manage the family business and the wealth disintegrated and collapsed like a pack of cards. Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution i.e. ‘Struggle for existence and survival of the fittest’ has lot of meaning in life. It also gives ultimate happiness because gold dazzles when it is polished through fire.

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