The Impact of Mental Health and the Art of Craftsmanship

Michael Zaldúa

Hatched by Michael Zaldúa

Jul 05, 2024

4 min read


The Impact of Mental Health and the Art of Craftsmanship

In today's society, there exists a culture that penalizes the symptoms of mental health, particularly among entrepreneurs. This has a significant impact on the economy, as the global cost of mental illnesses is projected to reach 6 trillion dollars by 2030. A study published in the journal 'Molecular Psychiatry' concluded that by minimizing work-related stress, almost one in five cases of depression could be prevented.

On the other hand, Richard Sennett's book 'The Craftsman' offers valuable insights into the relevance of craftsmanship and its connection to personal development and well-being. In the world of craftsmanship, there is a need for a superior who establishes patterns and provides training. In the workshop, inequalities in skill and experience become a matter of personal relationships. A successful workshop places legitimate authority in individuals rather than in predefined rights and obligations on paper.

Furthermore, the concept of authority in craftsmanship goes beyond occupying a respected position in a social network. For craftsmen, authority is equally derived from the quality of their skills. In the case of a goldsmith, the good skills that establish the authority of the master are inseparable from their ethics.

Craftsmen must also learn to coexist with imperfection. They must accept their own imperfections, just as Voltaire warns. This acceptance is essential for personal growth and development as a craftsman.

Additionally, craftsmen are willing to embrace the loss of control in their work. Unlike machines that malfunction when they lose control, craftsmen view such loss as an opportunity for discovery and fortunate accidents. Temporary loss of control is seen as a recipe for good craftsmanship and a guide for teaching it.

The purpose of our work should extend beyond mere functionality. The category of a craftsman encompasses more than just an artisan-artist. It represents the desire within each of us to do something well, specifically and without any other purpose.

Repetition plays a crucial role in craftsmanship. Repeating an action over and over again can be stimulating when organized with a forward-looking perspective. While the substance of routine may change, improve, or transform, the emotional compensation lies in the personal experience of repetition. This experience is familiar to us all—it is the rhythm.

Craftsmanship also requires embracing ambiguity. Grand projects often suffer from an over-determination of form and excessive adaptation to a specific purpose. With inevitable historical changes, these strictly defined buildings become obsolete. Therefore, the good urban craftsman is willing to follow the advice of a Zen master and work less aggressively, embracing ambiguity with open arms.

Knowing when to stop is a crucial skill for a craftsman. Sometimes, more work only worsens the situation. The good craftsman learns when it is the right time to stop and understands that excessive work can be counterproductive.

In today's world, there is a prevailing trend towards random jobs. People are expected to possess a range of skills rather than cultivating a single expertise throughout their working lives. This succession of projects or tasks erodes the belief in being called to do one thing well. Craftsmanship seems particularly vulnerable to this possibility, as it is based on slow learning and habit formation.

Finally, the art of craftsmanship expands the meanings of things. It is built upon three fundamental skills: locating, investigating, and revealing. The first skill involves giving concreteness to a material, the second involves reflecting on its qualities, and the third involves expanding its significance.

To harness the benefits of craftsmanship and promote mental well-being, here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Prioritize mental health in entrepreneurship: Create a culture that values and supports the mental well-being of entrepreneurs. Encourage open conversations about mental health, provide resources for stress management, and promote work-life balance.
  • 2. Embrace imperfection in your craft: Understand that imperfections are a natural part of the creative process. Embrace mistakes as opportunities for growth and learning. This mindset will help reduce stress and foster a more positive and fulfilling experience in your craft.
  • 3. Cultivate a sense of purpose in your work: Find meaning in what you do by focusing on the impact you have on others. Connect your craft to a larger purpose and consider how it contributes to the well-being and happiness of those who experience it. This sense of purpose will bring greater fulfillment and satisfaction to your work.

In conclusion, the impact of mental health on entrepreneurship and the insights from the art of craftsmanship are interconnected. By prioritizing mental well-being, embracing imperfection, and cultivating a sense of purpose, entrepreneurs can not only enhance their craft but also improve their overall well-being and contribute to a more positive and productive society.

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