(K. Brent Tomer),
METAPHORS matter. The right one can suggest new lines of inquiry and non-obvious solutions to pressing problems. But pick the wrong one and you risk being misled by false analogies and blinded to better approaches.
The metaphor of “stress” for mental or emotional strain or tension has shaped thinking about mental health since it was coined in the 1930s (see article in this week’s issue). Borrowed from physics, it suggests that people can withstand adverse or demanding circumstances up to a certain point, after which they will break. Yet it is wrong. New studies suggest that the mind is more like a muscle than an iron bar—weakened, not protected, by being saved from significant challenges. To grow stronger it needs to tackle hard tasks in fruitful ways—and to be allowed to recover afterwards. For workers and firms alike, the lesson is that difficult tasks encourage growth, recovery time should be built into work and personal time should not swallowed up by social media and…Continue reading