9 Psychological Laws That Control Your Actions Against Your Will

There are many events that take place in our life that are often hard to understand. How do fortune-tellers predict the future so precisely and why are broken windows so disturbing? Scientists have already created theories that explain what these things mean that happen around us. It turns out that people act according to a script and our behavior is actually pretty predictable.

We have read many psychological books and today we are going to share some secret knowledge with you — everything that happens to you is not random. People’s strange actions can also be explained with the help of science.

1. The theory of broken windows

9 Psychological Laws That Control Your Actions Against Your Will

The criminology theory of broken windows was implemented by 2 American sociologists – L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson. These scientists were trying to figure out the reason for the increasing crime rates in New York City in the 80s. They came to the following conclusion: minor offenses like scattered garbage or graffiti actively affected the crime level in general.

Here is an example from real life: if there was at least one broken or missing window in a building, people passing by assumed that no one cared for the building and that there were no responsible people to clean up the mess. After a short time, all the windows will be broken, while the people living in this area will become more confident in their ability to get away with things. Moreover, they will soon conclude that they won’t get punished for more severe crimes.

The fan of this theory – Rudy Giuliani, the mayor of New York (1994), managed to decrease the crime level in the city by double what it was.

2. The theory of learned helplessness

9 Psychological Laws That Control Your Actions Against Your Will

Learned helplessness is a behavioral disorder where a person isn’t trying to do anything to improve their lives, even though they have opportunity to do something about it. Why is it called ‘learned’? Because no one is born with the idea that overcoming obstacles is useless. This thought appears after going through a lot of stress or multiple failures. People give up and start believing that nothing is dependent on them, especially after having received numerous blows from life itself.

Here is an example from real life: A person has failed twice to pass the tests needed to get into a university, he works hard for very little money, and he can’t break up with a toxic partner. The solution seems quite simple – get prepared for the exam, find another job, get divorced, and your problems will disappear. But the one who is driven into helplessness doesn’t see an easy way out and will continue to tolerate pain.

What to do?

  • Forget about being perfect — there are very few things that you can do 100% perfect in life.
  • Decrease your expectations, including the negative ones. We tend to be scared of trouble even though it hasn’t happened yet.
  • Learn to stay optimistic. There is a term called learned optimism and you can learn it with the help of several exercises. Here is a test that will help you to define the level of your optimism.
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