Learnt Optimism

Martin E. P. Seligman

How to Change Your Mind and Your Life?

The ABCDE Model

Created On: May 02, 2020 6:59 PM Done-NotDone: No Last Done: Jun 01, 2021 1:44 PM Type: Book
Seligman's approach is known as the "ABCDE" model of learned optimism:
  • Adversity is the situation that calls for a response
  • Belief is how we interpret the event
  • Consequence is the way that we behave, respond, or feel
  • Disputation is the effort we expend to argue or dispute the belief
  • Energization is the outcome that emerges from trying to challenge our beliefs
To use this model to learn to be more optimistic:


Think about a recent sort of adversity you have faced. It might be something related to your health, your family, your relationships, your job, or any other sort of challenge you might experience.
For example, imagine that you recently started a new exercise plan but you are having trouble sticking with it.


Make a note of the type of thoughts that are running through your mind when you think about this adversity. Be as honest as you can and do not try to sugarcoat or edit your feelings.
In the previous example, you might think things such as "I'm no good at following my workout plan," "I'll never be able to reach my goals," or "Maybe I'm not strong enough to reach my goals."


Consider what sort of consequences and behaviors emerged from the beliefs you recorded in step 2. Did such beliefs result in positive actions, or did they keep you from reaching your goals?
In our example, you might quickly realize that the negative beliefs you expressed made it more difficult to stick with your workout plan. Perhaps you started skipping workouts more or put in less of an effort when you went to the gym.


Dispute your beliefs. Think about your beliefs from step 2 and look for examples that prove those beliefs wrong. Look for any example that challenges your assumptions.
For example, you might consider all of the times that you did successfully finish your workout. Or even other times that you have set a goal, worked towards it and finally reached it.


Consider how you feel now that you have challenged your beliefs. How did disputing your earlier beliefs make you feel?