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The “Mental Load Halved” Picture Explained

Everyone’s got a mental load. Work. Kids. Health. Retirement planning. Parents. Friends. Betrayals. Regrets over what might have been. Regret over what is, what was. Nobody gets off for free, even if they like to act that way.

It’s only in recent years we’ve come to recognise mental health as being as important as physical health, if not more so. But we’ve got a long way to go, and especially for men. Us humans are still designed for caveman eras yet here we are in the world of 2023 in the fast-paced, long-lifed world of technology. It’s like a ’60s sedan trying to tow a 3500kg caravan, just not evolved enough.

I thought for a long time the only way to reduce mental load was solve the problems. Logical, right? You have problems, you want fewer of them, solve some. And that is true, but to my amazement, turns out there’s another way. Real lightbulb moment.

The strange thing is merely talking about your problems lessens them – or appears to. What actually happens is that your ability to deal with the problem is improved, so it seems less of a problem. Weird, I know, but it works – you know I’d check it out before making that statement, just like I do for my automotive journalism work.

Now any women reading this are thinking “duh, that’s not news”. Not to you, no. Almost every woman I know has a close cabal of girlfriends with whom they share a lot. Men on the other hand…not so much. We simply keep everything activity-based. And why is it women refer to their female friends as girlfriends and I don’t call my male friends boyfriends, or my female friends my girlfriends? The English language annoys me. Anyway, moving on.

So of course I have an analogy for you. Imagine a man and a woman, ready for a hike at the base of a hill. They’ve got their packs on. Nothing in the pack, nice and light.

They start off up the hill, which we’ll call the Mountain of Life. All’s good, at least for the moment. But then along comes a problem, which we’ll think of as a couple of litres of water in the backpack. Both the man and woman now have a load. But it’s not a heavy one, so it’s okay.

The woman talks the problem over. Maybe she doesn’t even get solutions – this is another interesting bit of information, not everyone wants solutions when they discuss problems, strange but true, and I thought quantum physics was weird, turns out that’s nothing compared to how people operate. Anyway, the woman’s two litres of water slowly drains.

The man doesn’t talk. His two litres stays, adding two kg to his load.

Then comes along another problem. This is 5kg. The man now has 7kg, the woman has 6 as she’s drained a bit.

Guess what. Another 5kg problem comes along. The man’s up to 12kg. The woman, busy draining her problems, is still down around 7kg.

Eventually, the man is staggering along with 30kg on his back. He can barely take another step. It’s an effort to even lift his leg for the next step. Takes all his willpower.

The woman has managed it down to 9kg, she’s suffering but okay, it can be managed.

Then along comes a tiny little problem. A mere 250 grams. Lands on the man.

He’s gone. It’s too much, he’s struggled too long.

That’s the concept behind the picture. More specifically:

  • the mud represents life’s problems, stresses, worries which we all have.
  • the winch is your willpower to do something about it. That’s you alone.
  • the tree, or anchor, is your friends, confidante, mates
  • the rope is you reaching out.
  • the snatch block (pulley) is the way your friends help by listening. It halves the load; that’s the 2:1 MA (mechanical advantage) concept, 5000kg of load only needs 2500kg of force to pull it.

Now this is important.

The diagram doesn’t represent your friends pulling you out. Because they can’t.

The winch is on you the car, not the tree, and the snatch block can’t do anything unless you pull. But what the tree (mates) can do is offer an anchor, and if you talk (snatch block) then you find your efforts multiplied. It’ll take a while, as we know a pulley like that halves speed, but it does double power and that’s what you want. I can’t prove this with LEGO models, load cells or logic, so you’ll just need to trust me on this one. Give it a shot.

Here’s the link to the merch. https://shop.l2sfbc.com/search/?search=ma

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