Sep 082010

Defeatism is a dangerous attitude to have. When you expect to fail and accept it, it is highly likely you will. Defeatism takes away your objectivity and composure. It leaves you unable to handle events in an effective manner. It also robs you of the perseverance you need to succeed in what you set out to do. With this attitude, you give up too quickly at the first sign of trouble. Thus the very failure you expect becomes a reality. Due to Luke’s defeatism, even the wise Yoda had trouble with him. Read on to learn about the dangers of defeatism.

Yoda Trains Luke Skywalker

[Luke’s ship sinks into the mud]
Luke: We’ll never get it out now!
Yoda: So certain are you. Always with you it cannot be done. Hear you nothing that I say?
Luke: All right, I’ll give it a try.
Yoda: No. Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try

Yoda was a former Grand Master of the Jedi Order. The Jedi were skilled in the use of the Force; an energy field that bound the galaxy together. After the Sith Lords wiped out the Jedi Order, Yoda went into exile on the planet Dagrobah. He knew that circumstances favoured the rise of the Sith. During this time, there was little he could do but wait. And so Yoda waited patiently for many years before the last hope of the galaxy, Luke Skywalker, arrived.

It was Luke’s destiny to confront the Sith Lords. But before he could do so, he had to learn to use the Force. Despite his eagerness, his flaws hampered him. Chief amongst them was his defeatism. Having not seen the true power of the Force, Luke had some expectations about what it could and could not do. Due to these self-limiting beliefs, he failed to tap into his full potential. Thus, during his training, he found simple tasks difficult and gave up easily. He even felt that Yoda was asking him to do the impossible. But Yoda had lived for almost 900 years. During this time he had trained many Jedi Knights in the use of the Force. He knew better than Luke about the Force. Unfortunately, he had a hard time getting through to Luke.

The turning point came when Luke’s star fighter sunk into the swamp. As expected, Luke failed to lift it out with the Force. He simply could not believe that the Force could move something that big or heavy. Despite Yoda’s encouragement, Luke threw a tantrum and went off to sulk. Left with no choice, Yoda himself had to use the Force to lift the star fighter out of the swamp. It was the only way to open Luke’s eyes and overcome his defeatism.

Clouds Your Objectivity

Yoda had 900 years of experience with the Force. During this time, he trained countless Jedi Knights. In short, he knew the Force better than Luke did. But instead of trusting and listening to Yoda, Luke allowed his defeatism to cloud his objectivity. In the process, he filtered out Yoda’s advice and guidance. No matter how much Yoda assured Luke that he was capable of more, Luke could not believe it.

Defeatism clouds your eyes and covers your ears. You lose the ability to view the situation in an objective manner. Worsening matters, it also makes it hard for you to listen to well meaning advice. Even if the advice and guidance is sound, you will not be able to appreciate it, much less act on it. As a result, you will miss many chances to grow, turn things around or reach your goals. Do not let defeatism cloud your objectivity.

Limits Your Ability

In truth, Luke had great potential with the Force due to his lineage. Yoda knew this well which is why he pushed Luke so hard. But despite Luke’s potential, his defeatism hampered his ability. His attitude prevented him from being in harmony with the Force. As such he could only use a fraction of his true power. Because he expected to lift only small objects, that was all he could manage. And since he did not expect to lift his star fighter out of the swamp, he couldn’t do so either.

Defeatism places imaginary limits on what you can and cannot do. It creates barriers that prevent you from drawing on all your resources to triumph over the obstacles you face. Thus although you may be capable of much more, you will not make the effort to use your full power. You may not even be aware of the full extent of your capabilities. In any case, you simply cannot see the point of making such an effort. And it is because of this attitude that your failure is assured.

Destroys Your Fighting Spirit

Luke gave up too quickly and easily. Whenever he met with a setback, he liked to take the easy way out. His defeatism reassured him that the setback was too hard to overcome and that he had done all that was humanly possible. What Luke lacked was the fighting spirit needed to persevere in the face of hardship and setbacks. When Luke failed to lift the star fighter out of the mud, he just walked away instead of trying again. Had he kept on trying new ways to overcome this problem, he would have succeeded in the end. His perseverance would also have paid off in other areas of his life.

If you believe you can’t do something then you can’t and won’t. At the first sign of difficulty, you will lose the will to fight and give up. But if you believe you can do something then you can and will. Even if you face obstacles, you will find a way to adapt and succeed. More importantly, you won’t stop trying until you reach your goal. You will need great composure and fighting spirit to succeed at any task you face. This inner harmony will help you to prevail against any challenge that arises. The true measure of what you can achieve in life will only been seen if you do not have a defeatist attitude.

Taking Action

There is no room in life for defeatism. Expecting to fail and accepting it is different from planning for failure. With the former, you passively submit and surrender your fate into the hands of others. There is no more resistance from you. With the latter, you are ready to adapt and adjust in the worst case scenario. You refuse to give up despite the odds and always find new ways to stage a comeback. Only when you conquer defeatism can you hope to find the best ways to deal with any situation in life.

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  2 Responses to “Why Defeatism Cripples You”

  1. Defeatism has had a hold in my life for many years now and I would like to overcome it. How can I? What are the steps to see my path forward? I know this sounds overly simple, but do you just make a choice and if so, how do you keep yourself on track and encourage a positive thought process?

    If anyone has any suggestions, please give them.



    • Hi Gary,

      Overcoming defeatism is not so simple as just making a choice. Yes the choice to try to overcome defeatism is a very crucial first step, but it is not the only step.

      After you have made up your mind to overcome defeatism, you have to assess your situation. You have to identify the problems you face. Once you do so, the next step would be to come up with solutions to deal with these problems. If you are unable to think of any solutions, think of people who can help you. After this, it is all a matter of preparation and then executing your plans. As events unfold, you learn and adapt until you succeed.

      As for encouraging a positive thought process, I always remind myself to focus on the solutions instead of the problem. When I can find ways and means to resolve the problems I face, confidence builds and it becomes easier to manage defeatism in the future.

      I hope that answers your questions.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

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