Welcome to beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia.
This is actually where I grew up, just across that water.
And I remember when I was a teenager here I wanted to be a film maker.
And so what did I do?
Well, I found a film director with a strange name who lived in Vancouver.
I saw her on the cover of this magazine
and then I just looked up her number in the phone book,
in the white pages, because that is how you did back in the year 2000.
And I gave her a call and she said she was on the other line,
but she would call me back.
And, strangely enough, she did call me back.
And it was amazing. I got to chat to her about film making.
I guess what I really wanted was for someone else to be able to provide me with an opportunity to get on set,
to get some experience in that industry and show me what it is like.
I just want to know and it is so hard when you are on the outside to figure out how to break in.
You just want to reach out to someone who knows and say:
Help me with this.
There is a psychological phenomenon known as learned helplessness.
And the experiments conducted way back decades ago
that established this phenomenon were really quite terrible.
What they would do is take dogs and for some of them, at least,
they would force them to endure a punishment.
For example they would receive electric shocks
and there was nothing they could do to prevent those shocks.
For other dogs there were actually little levers or a fence
they could hop over that would stop the shocks.
Now later on they took all of those dogs and they tested them again,
but in environments where every one of those dogs had the opportunity
to avoid the shocks by taking some action.
Now what was found was those dogs that had been forced to endure the shocks
and had no way of stopping them
just kind of came to accept the shocks
even when there were actions that they could take which would stop them.
So this is learned helplessness.
They have learned that there is nothing they can do to stop that uncomfortable situation.
There is a related study carried out with adults
where they were trying to complete a task,
except there was this distracting noise playing.
Now some of the adults had the ability to turn off that noise,
whereas others did not. It was not under their control.
And when you look at the performance,
the adults who had the control to turn off the noise performed better
even when they didn’t actually exercise that control.
So they just let the noise play,
but the knowledge that they could shut it off if they wanted to,
made them perform better.
I have worked at many jobs now,
some very menial and some more managerial or entrepreneurial
like I was basically running the show.
And what I found is that there is kind of this divide between employees and managers.
When you are an employee and you are assigned to do something,
you try to do it as best you have been shown,
but if you hit a roadblock you kind of stop
and you go to your manager or supervisor and you say:
Hey, what do I do now?
I have done that before. I have done it when I was a research assistant.
I would get some result. I didn’t really know what was going on.
And I would just take it to my supervisor. The supervisor would say:
Oh, well, why don’t you try this?
And that suggestion that they made was always one that I knew or,
you know, I could have thought of if I had just spent five minutes on it
or if I really wanted to achieve that goal. But instead,
I just had this mentality like: I am carrying out this task
and when I get stuck, I am just going to ask someone else.
You know, there is a story that Tim Ferriss tells.
He is the guy who wrote The Four Hour Work Week
which is a book I would recommend.
But he went and visited this university and
he challenged the students that he was talking to.
He said: Look, I will give you 25,000 dollars and a trip around the world
只要你能够通过签名 邮件 写信等方式
for anyone who shows that they have made contact,
by some sort of signature, email or letter or something
with either Jennifer Lopez,
比尔·克林顿 那时他好像还是总统？ 不是了
Bill Clinton—who I think at the time was the President, possibly—
J.D. 塞林格 他就是那个长期隐居的作家
and J.D. Salinger, who is the most reclusive writer of all time.
有人做到吗？ 不 一个也没有
And did anyone do it? No. Not a one.
Now the following year he went back to the same university
and in addition to making the challenge
he told them the story from the previous year,
that no one had actually done it, no one had really tried.
And that year six people actually achieved his challenge.
The point being, you need to find a way around the learned helplessness mentality, the employee
mentality and find a way to realize that things that seem impossible can be accomplished if
you really accept that you have control of these things, that it is not outside of your control.
It may be a question we should ask is:
Does our school system promote learned helplessness?
Do we force kids to suffer punishments that they really can’t change time and time and
time again and then we expose them to a world
and say: Now you go out and do what you want to do?
I think to a certain degree we are doing that.
You know, school is for a lot of kids just
a weird and unusual kind of punishment
and I guess it is no wonder that they learn
that, you know, there is things beyond their control,
because school is kind of about taking control away from kids.
You know, for the dogs. How did they get the dogs to overcome their learned helplessness
and actually get away from the shocks they were receiving?
他们试图喂食 并且鼓励它们 然而并没用
They tried treats and encouragements,but it didn’t work.
They had to physically move the dogs away from the area where they were being shocked
at least twice before they would actually learn that they had the power
to change their faith, that they didn’t have to suffer that kind of punishment again and again.
But with you, I feel like just letting you know that this thing exists might be enough
to change the way you view your life and your opportunities.
Let’s talk briefly about career paths.
I applied to acting school three times and was rejected three times.
I applied to film school twice and was rejected twice.
I think what I was looking for out of those institutions was a sure fire way to get to the career that I wanted.
I was basically doing the same thing that I was doing
when I asked that director in Vancouver to help me out, to get me on set.
I was asking for someone else to make this possible for me.
I mean, there is a small number of jobs where the career path is clearly laid out.
You want to be a doctor, you have to go to med school.
You want to be a lawyer, you have to go to law school.
You want to be an academic, you have to do a PhD.
But I think there is a much larger group of careers
where you really have to figure out a way to do it yourself.
And that is the whole point.
That is the whole challenge.
You feel like you are not in control
and you want someone else to help you get that control or get in
the place where you need to be, but no one can really help you.
Just like that director couldn’t really help me get where I need to be,
I cannot help other people get where they need to be.
You really have it all up to you.
I mean, you have to demonstrate that
you can do what you want to do.
You know, there is this quote.
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
and the courage to change the things I can and
the wisdom to know the difference.
Now my point is: When you are contemplating the things that you can and cannot change, ere
on the side of thinking that you can change much more than you can,
because often you will be able to.
I mean, everything seems impossible until it is done.
That is a Nelson Mandela quote, which I think is kind of appropriate in this circumstance.
Things look a lot more impossible than they are.
And, really, it is up to you to find out.
Hey, as you can tell, books have had a huge impact on my life and how I see the world.
And when I am traveling I like to listen to them as audio books, because it is just more
convenient on planes and trains.
And there is actually one I wanted to recommend to you.
It is called Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely.
It is about how humans don’t really behave rationally even when we think that is what we are doing.
So it provides pretty good insight into how your brain works and how the brains of everyone around you work.
And if you want, you can download this book for free by going to Audible.com/Veritasium
or you can pick any other book of your choosing for a one month free trial.
Audible is a great audio book website with over 180,000 titles in all areas of literature
包括小说 非小说 期刊
including fiction, non fiction and periodicals.
So you should definitely check them out.
I want to thank Audible for supporting me and I want to thank you for watching.