WHAT WE NEED RIGHT NOW is a can-do attitude, an unthwartable explanatory style. This takes some work to develop, but it will serve you for the rest of your life. Unthwartability is a consistent determination to try again after a setback. A setback is defined as anything that doesn't turn out the way you wanted. That means you have setbacks of some kind several times a day. You don't have too many days where everything goes exactly the way you want.
In an experiment with the famous Berkeley swim team, you can see a clear example of the difference between a thwartable and an unthwartable explanatory style. The swimmers were doing "timed heats," which means they swam to one end of the pool and then back again, and they were given their time. They swam up and back again, and were given their time again.
But on this day, on one of their heats, the coach gave them all a time slower than their actual time.
Since these were all seasoned athletes, they knew how the lap felt, and the slow time was experienced by each one of them as a setback: Something was wrong. What happened next is revealing. The swimmers with a strong explanatory style swam the next heat faster. They responded to the setback with determination.
The swimmers with a weak explanatory style swam the next heat slower. They responded to the setback with demoralization.
Think about that for a moment. Imagine the difference it would make to each of those people as they respond to the many setbacks each of us experience every day. Do you see how big the difference would be after twenty years of accumulated impact? No wonder scientists have found that people with a strong explanatory style are more successful: Politicians with a strong explanatory style win more elections; salespeople with a strong explanatory style make more money; athletes with a strong explanatory style win more contests.
A strong explanatory style also benefits the immune system and health in general.
Even on a small scale, defeatism makes you impotent. For example, if you try to help friends cure their defeatism and they become defensive or angry, what do you do? Stop talking to them about it? Give up? Or improve your ability to help without offending?
So here is something you can do that will help defeat terrorism and improve your health and help make you more successful: Improve your explanatory style. Do not underestimate the power of your explanatory style. It makes a real, noticeable, measurable, and significant difference in your life and in the lives of those around you.
Learn how to improve your explanatory style. Master it and then teach it to others. Help the worldwide effort to create a strong and healthy population by helping your friends and family immunize themselves against demoralization.