Antifragile

We don’t have a word that’s the opposite of “fragile” – we should


This week is the first week I’ve had where I haven’t had a million deadlines so I’m easing back into normalcy. The weird thing is that high levels of pressure have been the norm for me for the past two months or so, so it’s hard for me to go back to having a bit of extra time again.

In some ways, it was a welcome distraction from not being able to go the gym and such.

Years ago, I wrote about this term called the Black Swan, which means a completely unforeseeable event that has a huge historical impact – like 9/11. A fella named Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote a whole book on the subject with the apt subtitle: The Impact of the Highly Improbable.

Anywho, Taleb coined another word he calls, Antifragile.

If fragility means that something breaks under stress, note that the English language has no antonym – we have no word that means grows stronger under stress.

In other words, the opposite of fragile is not sturdy nor resilient. When something is fragile, it becomes weaker when stressed. There is no word that means, Becomes stronger when stressed.

I think that most things do, though. Isn’t that how muscles are made, how iron is forged? One puts these things through stress and only then does it grow stronger.

Of course, if the stress is so great that it kills you, you’ve gone too far.

There are things, then, that happen that make us fragile and things that make us anti-fragile. I like to think that that most things make us anti-fragile.

We are still here, after all, no?

Mood: oddly relaxed
Music: these shoulders hold up so much, they won’t budge
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6 thoughts on “Antifragile”

    1. Now I have to look that up.

      Happy New Year to you too! I haven't "seen" you in a while, I feel…

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