Military generals have long known that bodies can endure much longer than machines

Strength is often associated with hardness. In truth, we show and grow strength through a wave-like sequence of tension, then release… tension, then release.

Plants are born tender and pliant; dead, they are brittle and dry… The hard and stiff will be broken. The soft and supple will prevail.’ – Lao Tzu

Truly some of the world’s strongest people are carers.

Family carers, engaged in relentless effort, often following or deep within trauma, their own emotions relegated.

Care workers, exhausted and underappreciated for their critical job comforting and protecting the vulnerable.

And yet, often, they survive and thrive.

A sense of flexibility is a massively healthy approach towards life

But to be flexible, you need some power over your own life, space and support. Instead, overwork is normalised, seen as a virtue. Yes, we can do it – for a long time. But all the while, stress hormones build in the body, disrupting nearly all of its processes, chipping away at life quality and eventually the length of life itself. Mental health struggles, insomnia, pain, digestive problems, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Do we want a world of strong, brittle people gritting their teeth like fighter pilots, for years on end? Or one where we’re free to build strength healthily, where we share out the physical, mental and emotional workload fairly, stepping forward and falling back? If it’s the latter, we’ll need to redesign the world…