3 P's

Our ability to deal with hard things is determined by 3 P's. This was described by Martin Seligman, a well-known psychologist. These P's are ways that we see the world:

  • Personalization
  • Permanence
  • Pervasiveness

Personalization is thinking that the problem is yourself, instead of considering other outside things that have caused it. Realizing outside factors have caused a bad situation allows us to reduce the blame and criticism we put on ourselves.

Permanence is thinking a bad situation will last forever. Those who think setbacks are temporary have improved ability to accept and adapt for the future.

Pervasiveness is thinking a bad situation applies across all areas of your life, instead of only happening in one area. People who think bad situations are pervasive feel that all areas of their life are impacted. This can make it hard to carry on.


Change your Perspective

  1. Pick a hard experience that is happening now.
  2. Look at the example below as a template.
  3. Write out how you could think about the situation as Personal, Permanent and Pervasive.
  4. Now, change your point of view: write out how the experience could be Impersonal, Impermanent, and Specific.


Let's say you lost your Job. Below are ways you could feel, and ways you could try to change your perspective:

  • I am not a good enough person
  • There's something wrong with me
  • I will never find a job
  • I also failed as a parent
  • The company is struggling
  • My skill-set did not fit with current needs
  • I will find a job soon
  • This applies to work - it does not apply to my family life, hobbies, social life, or other interests.

This tool is useful in many hard situations to change your perspective. If it works for you, consider practicing it regularly.