You walk into the doctor’s office for a routine checkup and come away with some bad news.
Here is Taleb’s definition of a Black Swan:
“an event with the following three attributes. First, it is an outlier, as it lies outside the realm of regular expectations, because nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility. Second, it carries an extreme impact…. Third, in spite of its outlier status, human nature makes us concoct explanations for its occurrence after the fact, making it explainable and predictable.”
To my mind, antifragility is what is meant by the expression “that which does not kill us makes us stronger.”
Black Swans and Antifragility go together, like hot milk and chocolate, or ham and eggs. On its own, each ingredient is what it is…but when combined properly they make up something even better.
According to Taleb, a very scholarly dude and former trader and risk analyst, nothing gets better (or, ultimately, can even survive), without “stressors.” Antifragility, the quality of benefitting from shock, disruption, disaster, is the growth mechanism of anything that evolves, from planetary evolution itself to the legal system.
Fragility is something we can recognize and predict. Random shit that hits the proverbial fan is not. In dealing with it, there’s something to be said for cultivating Antifragility.
Everytime you not only rebound from disappointment or failure, but consciously choose to celebrate it as a growth experience, you are cultivating Antifragility. Everytime you jump into something without having all the answers and probabilities worked out first (perfectionism) you are cultivating Antifragility.
By not blaming yourself for anything and opening your arms to everything, you develop the ability to take bigger and better risks as you learn to stand tall regardless of the outcome. That is the practice of Antifragility.
Antifragility goes beyond resilience… you become like that mythological snake the Hydra….when one head gets chopped off you grow back two. When the going gets tough you find it galvanizing, not discouraging.
That doesn’t mean you don’t reel a bit and take a breath, but once you do, you come back swinging!
Some people are inherently blessed with more Antifragility than others, but it can and must be cultivated in order to succeed.
I suggest you start today.
In fact, because I think in many ways my mom is a living testament to antifragility, I thought I’d share this FB Live video on Creativity and Showing Up no matter what. The subject matter of the video is not a direct correlation of this post, but her guest take on things exemplifies it. Enjoy!