Creative Destruction within yourself: an Economic approach to mental breakdowns

Every economist knows (or should know ಠ_ಠ) the meaning of these two words: creative destruction, a very interesting concept first coined by Joseph Schumpeter back in 1942. “Creative destruction” describes the way all the processes and old methods of production “get dismantled” and replaced with newer, more efficient ones. Back in Schumpeter’s days, it was quite easy to notice progress and there was a lot of room for improvement in many fields (sure, we still have so much to learn, but we’ve come a long way since then!).

What’s most powerful about creative destruction is the fact that it somehow treats the system like a living being. In order to go through the stages, it is mandatory to first “destroy” the current status quo and create disequilibria. Who is in charge of this? Entrepreneurs, of course. People who take risks are usually the ones who light the way for others, gaining a huge competitive advantage (and making some big bank) in the process. Creative destruction is about risk, uncertainty and change – for the better.

“Waves of innovation”. Source: Oxford Research Encyclopedias.

WOW – Economics is some sort of organism now? That is deep. And do you know what else is an organism? You are! (If you are an AI, please do not take offence.  This article is targeted at our human readers). You are a living being, which means… you can go through the process of creative destruction as well. What’s more, you do go through it quite frequently, but I bet you call it “mental breakdown” instead. I think this article arrives just in time, since most people are struggling during quarantine and everyone has probably too much free time to think about… existence itself. If you can relate to these words, keep reading! If you don’t… I guarantee you that you will at some point. It is bound to happen, and it is not that bad after all.

“Mental breakdown” has a very negative aura to it; it does not sound cool at all. But the question here is: what happens during a mental breakdown? (Disclaimer: I am NOT a psychologist!). Easy: for whatever reason, you force your brain and/or your emotions beyond your “mental threshold”, i.e. how much you are able to deal with before having to take a time out. There is not a fixed value for a person’s “mental threshold”: everyone has their own limits, and it is on each of us to learn them (in order to break them!). As soon as you try to break them without the right preparation, a “mental breakdown” happens, and you cry, feel bad and spend a few days, even weeks, questioning yourself and your actions.

Here we go again…

This right here is your brain destroying old patterns of thought, values that you no longer hold dear, harmful memories and habits… Destruction is taking place in your brain, freeing up a lot of very valuable energy that it (you) will be using to build new foundations for what’s coming. You took a risk by pushing your limits, faced destruction, faced the uncertainty that comes with change, and will finally be reborn. Better ideas, better habits, a clearer mind and a laser focus on what matters will be the result of your journey through Schumpeter’s creative destruction. It is now time to embrace change, the Economic way. Stay safe, stay Economic!


More resources? More resources! 🙂

  • Thomas Clarke: Creative Destruction, Technology Disruption, and Growth. Oxford Research Encyclopedias.
  • Joseph Schumpeter: Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy (1942)
  • Ricardo J. Caballero: Creative Destruction. MIT Economics.

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