Corbis
Ideas
December 4, 2015 12:01 AM EST

Psychologist Albert Bandura is famous for his social learning theory which is really more of a model than a theory.

He stresses the importance of observational learning. Who you spend time with matters. “Learning would be exceedingly laborious, not to mention hazardous, if people had to rely solely on the effects of their own actions to inform them what to do,” Bandura explains.

There is an excerpt in Stronger: Develop the Resilience You Need to Succeed that explains how we can acquire and maintain the factors of personal resilience.

According to Bandura we need to control the stress around us so that it doesn’t become excessive, in part because we often act without thinking in stressful situations.

But note the distinction between controlling and suppressing. Often controlling is impossible so we suppress and fool ourselves into thinking we’re controlling. And suppressing volatility is often a horrible idea, especially in the long-run.

Instead of what’s intended, we create a coiled spring that most often leads to negative leaping emergent effects. In the end this moves us toward fragility and away from robustness and resiliency.

***

If you’re still curious, The Hour Between Dog and Wolf: How Risk Taking Transforms Us, Body and Mind discusses a bit of this topic as well.

This piece originally appeared on Farnam Street.

Join over 60,000 readers and get a free weekly update via email here.

Contact us at letters@time.com.

Read More From TIME

Related Stories

EDIT POST