Hello, welcome to one of my first blog posts ever created. In this short story I want to convince you to take on the same challenge as me. The challenge is to expose yourself to more randomness in life in order to learn how to bounce back stronger from obstacles and become more antifragile.
What does antifragile even mean?
By no means do I want to copy the amazing work of Nassim Taleb. I acknowledge that my explanation of antifragile is nothing compared to the one of Nassim Taleb. I encourage you with all my heart to read his book. For those who are not interested in reading the amazing seven hunderd page book, I am going to attempt to give it a shot at explaining the meaning of antifragile.
Very simply said, antifragile is the opposite of fragile. An object that is fragile is going to break when you use some sort of force against it. An object that is robust, which is not the opposite of fragile, is going to handle the resistance without changing its structure. It basically stays the same when a shock has been applied. An object that is antifragile is going to get better or stronger when it is faced with a negative impact.
The easy and most understandable example are (human) muscles. When you do weight training, you are essentially going to put stress onto the muscles. Because of that stressor, some of the muscle fibers are going to be damaged and break down. That is one of the reasons why you are so sore after a workout. When the body recovers, it will not only repair the damaged muscles but it will also produce some extra muscle fibers. So the next time the same stressor is applied, the muscles can handle the stressor more easily with less damage and the muscles will get stronger.
So what is about that randomness?
Things that randomly happen to us are almost always associated with stress. We strategically plan everything and we also hope that everything will go accordingly but when life hits hard, it helps us remind how little control we really have. Most of the time, the bigger our sense of control, the less control we really have. The more you expose yourself to random events, the more you will be trained on how to deal with them. When these things happen again, you will most likely have a better sense of control. Exposure to randomness means getting prepared for life and its unavoidable and unpredictable events.
Sounds really cool. How should I start?
I really have been thinking about the practicality of anti-fragility in my life. It is always nice to read a brilliant book but most of the time, it is really hard to implement some of these ideas into your own life. Personally, I always like to reflect on how a non-fiction book can influence my life. That is also the most important reason why I read non-fiction books. I read them not to make me feel better but to inspire me on how to live my own life from a different viewpoint. I am going to break down my own approach in five little steps.
Exposure to more randomness:
There are a lot a examples on how you can expose yourself to more randomness. For absolute beginners, you could just swap your favorite sandwich you normally eat with another sandwich that is randomly chosen. For intermediate dare devils, you could start a side hustle and listen to the promises made by some youtubers who talk about e-commerce. (Tip: don’t do that) If you are feeling like a pro, you could quit your job and start a job as a blogger (Go on! Be a swashbuckling nincompoop! I even dare you to consider that!). If you do not see this as pure exposure to randomness, then I think I can teach you nothing here.
At last, everybody who wants to downsize his life just a bit could maybe do a random space trip. Legend says that such trip is not as predictable as one would think.
Share your vulnerabilities:
Nowadays, you do not have to go to your neigbor to share your most intimate stories. (So, stop doing that!) You can use all of the social platforms to your own benefit. Through socials, you can share your struggles, your emotions, and your weaknesses. Basically, you can share the fragile part of your story. By doing so, you will have the power! That way, people cannot humiliate you when they confront you with your own weaknesses as you have all ready done so beforehand.
By sharing your weaknesses, you are one step closer in accepting them. When you accept your weaknesses, you can leverage your strengths. “Where do I share this?”, is probably the question that pops into your mind. Well, that does not really matter much. Use all of the different platforms that exist. Share them on Tik Tok, with the Chinese government, or the riskiest of them all, in real life!
Listen to feedback:
One of the hardest things in life is listening to and accepting feedback. By listening to feedback, you have to be able to put yourself in the same position of the person who is giving the feedback. So there is some meta shit happening. By allowing yourself to respect the opinion of somebody else, you can start to use it as a practical guide.
That is how I look at advice or feedback from other people. I have my own map. The thing that is lacking on my beautiful map is some clarity and precision.
After receiving feedback, I can add some elements to my map. These elements will alter the way I look at the whole map. I never change the map on its own. The map is my own framework that I use in life. Nobody can really alter my own base-camp. Use feedback as a way to build onto your beautiful personality but never to change or question it!
Do not put other people’s opinions on a pedestal:
You can clearly love people without giving them the power to get into your head and to instill negativity. You can listen to them while using a black-and-white filter for all the BS. What other people say can be really important. When they do it from a position of compassion, that advice can even help you move forward.
Most of the times people say things that will directly benefit themselves. I can get really bogus (pardon the oxymoron) and say that life is love and other cheezy stuff but reality tells us that at the end, we ultimately only care about ourselves. I do not look at that from a negative perspective. We should all prioritize our own life first before we interfere in other people’s lives. This way, we also understand how to put the opinion of somebody else in perspective. When they spread hate, it is most of the time because they come from a very bad place.
Reflect and learn from your mistakes:
This last sentence is actually the only one that is really necessary to become anti-fragile but I believe the steps above are really important to get to know yourself and to understand the interaction with other people. They are crucial steps you have to take first before you will be ready to start learning and implementing the stoic principles.
Trying is the first step to failure. Failure and suffering is necessary to learn and grow. I am pretty sure I have used these exact same words in another blog post. This should sound like music in your head by now. Do not let your mouth but your actions speak.
Now it is your turn. What can you do to get more randomness in your life? How do you feel about sharing your personal story online? How do you handle other people’s opinions? Do you grow when you fail in life?
You can answer these answers on a piece of paper or you could be even more intrepid by making a video about it and sharing it with your family and watch their reaction.
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