ASPIRE OMT: The Message Behind the Logo

Are You One of Us?

In the 1950s John Hopkins professor Curt Richter performed an experiment on rats demonstrating the power of hope in overcoming adversity.

In the first experiment, Richter took 12 domesticated rats and placed them each in a tank filled with water. The first rat swam excitedly around and explored, without resurfacing to the top and then died 2 minutes later. Two more rats followed a similar routine shortly after and died in much the same way. The other nine rats, however, swam primarily at the surface for 40-60 hours before eventually drowning.

Obviously, the vast difference in survival time poses many questions as to how the rats were cared for, handled, and “supported.” Therefore, like most researchers, the experiment continued while trying to control more variables. This time he captured 34 wild rats, known for being aggressive and ready to escape any form of captivity. All 34 rats died within minutes of immersion in the water-filled jars. Again, questions remained as to why the “wild,” aggressive rats died so quickly despite their escape-artist nature, coupled with their notable fierce swimming ability.

He said in his own words, “The situation of these rats scarcely seems one demanding fight or flight - it is rather one of hopelessness…the rats are in a situation against which they have no defense…they seem literally to ‘give up.” 1

Could the answer really be as simple as a loss of hope?

How Help Leads to Hope, and Hope Leads to Perseverance

Richter then decided to take another group of wild rats and “eliminate hopelessness” by repeatedly holding them and then freeing them and by immersing them in water for a few minutes and pulling them out. When he returned them to water the rats showed no sign of giving up.

Richter wrote, “In this way, the rats quickly learn that the situation is not actually hopeless; thereafter they again become aggressive, try to escape, and show no signs of giving up. Wild rats, so conditioned, swim just as long as domestic rats or longer.”1

Rats who had been helped in the past fought through adversity and survived 240 times longer than the rats who never experienced help - the ones with no hope for a way out.

While this experiment was cruel, it provided insight into the importance of support, especially when the mountain seems too steep to climb!

Choosing to surround yourself with people unwilling to reach out a hand and help you through the tough times sets you up for FAILURE.

Mic drop…

Listen closely. The rats who never experienced rescue gave up 240 times faster than those who had HOPE. Keep this in mind the next time you face a challenge, the next time you have a mountain to climb.

What does perseverance look like for those that have the support of a community pulling them up the mountain? How much higher would you climb? How much MORE WOULD YOU ACCOMPLISH?

How to Become the Physical Therapist You Always Wanted to Be

We all need rescuing from time to time. We all can benefit from guidance. We all need a hand to help us up the mountain and to push us to achieve things we didn’t know we could do. We all deserve reprieve, rest, and a reset.

Surround yourself with a company, a mentor, a boss, or a partner who believes in you, who promotes you, who celebrates your accomplishments, who understands that shining a light on YOUR success doesn’t dim their light.

Find your people - people who shout from the mountain tops that you are amazing. That you are meant to do hard things and to keep climbing that mountain of su