Life

Fragile or Anti-Fragile?

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What’s up everyone!

How’s our weekends coming along?

A big hello to our Northern hemisphere cousins – hoping that you guys are enjoying the Northern Summer as it sl-ow-ly creeps along, don’t worry – it’ll get there!

Meanwhile, yours truly experienced a very rare event last night…

We went to “take in a show” at the iconic Sydney Opera House.

Well, rather we went to support MrsFrugalSamurai’s Mum as she performed as part of the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.

SO much CULTURE.

I quite enjoyed myself surprisingly, chiefly because my own singing voice has oft been compared to a duck not having a good time.

MrsFrugalSamurai has always said she builds up her resilience levels whenever I belt out a rustic tune, but some people just don’t recognize talent y’know.

Resilience…resilience… where was I going with this… hmm… Oh yeah.

I’ve been reading a fair bit of Nassim Taleb in recent months and wanted to share with you all a couple of interesting learnings.

Who’s Nassim you ask?

He’s the guy that wrote “The Black Swan” right before the GFC and went on to make a stack of money during it, chiefly on that exact premise – which is basically “an event or occurrence that deviates beyond what is normally expected of a situation and is extremely difficult to predict. Black swan events are typically random and unexpected”.

Mind you, he was a very successful Wall Street Trader for over 20 years prior to this and subsequently has turned into a leading thinker, author and professor – chiefly around risk in an investment context.

Image result for antifragile
Hmm, I’m on two strikes…

Reading his works, I realized that a lot of what he states can be applied to real-life as well.

Here, take an example:

The way Nassim sees it, humans come in three different types: fragile, robust, or anti-fragile.

The fragile seek to avoid risk of any sort and to shield themselves from life and all the potential ups and downs. They want to contain themselves in a safe and comfortable environment 24/7/365.

Think the guy who was born, raised, married and lived in the same town for his entire life, never once venturing out of a 10km radius… never once being exposed to anything that will lead him to grow or experience the ripest fruits life has to offer. 

Then there are the robust, who, like great oak trees, stand resolute and firm in the face of messiness. The volatility and constant change never affects them. They keep a flat line all through the journey, never once deviating from their course, no matter what happens.

Whilst there’s much to admire about robustness, an issue may be that they are TOO strong, TOO rigid. When change and evolution is all round, they are too attached to the “old ways”. 

(Some names that come to mind when I read this were, Kodak, Nokia, Sears…have a read of them).

And finally, the anti-fragile.

These are whom actively engage with the gamut of what life has to offer, both good and bad – to learn and become more creative and resilient in the face of change.

They learn lessons through the various challenges and complexities and as a result, grow.

Think about the muscles and bones of weightlifters, which get stronger as more and more weights are applied through time.

Image result for antifragile
Damnit, shoulda just inserted this pic… save 400 words…

Pretty cool right? Now there’s some food for thought on a Sunday afternoon… which one are you?

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