Antifragility – systems that increase their ability to thrive as a result of stressors, shocks, volatility, noise, mistakes, faults, attacks, or failures – is a word that’s been on my mind of late.
On a daily basis, we face unexpected volatility, failures, and mistakes. Facing these twists and turns with courage and confidence and approaching every day with thoughtfulness, gratitude, and grace points to strong character and a life well lived.
All of these only happen consistently when we embrace antifragility.
They happen when we habitually squeeze learning out of every new experience (whether good or bad) and ensure we keep getting better.
Antifragility is both a powerful and inspiring idea.. one to think about the next time we find ourselves down or disheartened by some unexpected twist.
The 4 minute mile was considered impossible until Roger Bannister ran it. Once he did, many followed suit.
For more than half a century, finishing a marathon in less than 2 hours was considered an insurmountable barrier. This weekend, Eliud Kipchoge did a Roger Bannister and proved that it can be done.
While it remains to be seen if his achievement will have the same effect on marathon runners as Roger Bannister did, it did make me wonder about how often we limit ourselves by setting arbitrary mental limits on how much we can do.
It probably happens more often than we think.
Two commitments to make to ourselves over the weekend –
1. If we have the option, we’ll disconnect from work and spend time with ourselves and those we love
2. When we spend this time, we’ll do so by paying full attention. Not the “I’ll check my phone every time I have a spare minute” sort of attention. Instead, it’ll be the “I have no idea where my phone is right now” sort of attention.
Time and attention is the truest manifestation of our love. Here’s to making sure we give plenty of that to ourselves and those around us this weekend.
Much of figuring out how to change behavior is to stop attempting to change behavior and to start understanding the incentives driving that behavior instead.
It is easy to spend many hours in the pursuit of trying to set the record straight with others.
Over time, we come to realize that such pursuits are useless because, it turns out, we don’t have to set the record straight with everyone.
We just need to do so with ourselves.
We moved into a new place a few weeks ago. On the night before our move, I went over with a few bags of stuff. And, as I turned on the lights, it struck me that the place felt eerie and quiet.
It still felt like a house – not a home.
We moved in the next day. And, within 24 hours, the same house underwent a transformation. The house felt like the home we had decided to move into.
I had two reflections from this experience.
The first is that home is where the people are.
And, the second is a point Nassim Taleb makes in his book “Skin in the Game” about how rich folks are sold on the idea of buying houses that are far too big for them. As a result, these houses only make them feel lonely and unhappy. As highly social creatures, we love warm spaces that we can share with people we love. So, homes with just enough space to enjoy spending time with the people we love are the way to go.
There’s something to that.
Confidence doesn’t arise in the absence of insecurities or a lack of awareness of the challenges in our way.
Instead, it arises from attempting to make progress despite these insecurities and challenges and from the knowledge that “this might not work… and that’s okay.”