We all dread the idea of losing something important in our lives. Maybe it’s our career, money, relationship, business or anything else that we value so much. In one way or another, we’ve all experienced that moment of fear — the fear of losing or failing. But did you know that when facing our fears, we can be one of the following: someone who’s fragile, some who’s resilient or someone who has an antifragile mindset. If you are someone who looks your fear in the eye and faces it head on, then you can either be resilient or antifragile. Let’s find out what is antifragile and how an antifragile mindset can transform your perspective in life.
What is Antifragile?
The term antifragile was introduced by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book, Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder. According to Taleb, antifragility is beyond being resilient or robust. In his book, Taleb explains, “Wind extinguishes a candle and energizes fire. Likewise with randomness, uncertainty, chaos: you want to use them, not hide from them. You want to be the fire and wish for the wind. To be antifragile means getting stronger by facing stress, chaos and disorder.”
Nowadays, with so many things going on, not to mention the impact of the pandemic in our life, our ability to handle stress and be more resilient has become more essential than ever. If you want to survive the challenges of today’s world, your ability to not be perturbed by stress or disorder will come in very handy.
3 Antifragile Practices You Should Adopt
Achieving antifragility is not something that you can do overnight, but once you get the hang of it, you will reap the benefits of gaining a strong mind. A mind that only gets stronger as you tread through any type of chaos your daily life may bring. So if you want to know how to become antifragile, these three useful practices can help develop an antifragile mindset.
1. Cap your downside by being emotionally prepared for a loss.
One of the biggest impacts any stressful situation does to us is to affect our emotions. More often than not, when we are not emotionally ready to handle any unexpected situation, things tend to become more difficult for us to handle. We worry too much and the burden of that worry then impacts our overall effectiveness in handling a difficult situation.
To help you maintain an antifragile mindset, it’s best that you set yourself up to be ready for any bad situation. One way of doing this is by rehearsing your loss or the chaos you may have been dreading to face.
For example, you have thought about investing a large amount of your money on a business and you might be feeling anxious about your investment not paying off. If you want to become antifragile, you can set aside a time of your day, maybe as soon as you wake up, or maybe before going to bed. Try to think about all of the bad situations that might happen to your investment. You might lose the money, your investment might not work out, you might go bankrupt. Think about how you would feel if this happens.
Indeed, it will be worrying or can even be frightening and stressful. But by knowing how this loss might make you feel can be a great way for you to be more prepared to face it. Instead of dreading it from happening, you are now emotionally prepared to go through this bad situation.
2. Seek eustress to change your perspective towards stress.
The next practice you should adopt for an antifragile mindset is to find ways to experience a healthy type of stress, which is called eustress. Eustress is a normal level of psychological stress that can actually be beneficial for you.
Eustress can be triggered through a number of activities. You can easily acquire it even just by ramping up your usual exercise regimen, or trying on a new sport, starting a new project, or even by simply answering some tests or quizzes that will help challenge you mentally.
By seeking out these forms of positive stress, you get to acquire a better perspective of stress, wherein instead of avoiding it, you crave for it and are more ready to go through with it. Instead of working on easing stress, you are actually welcoming it as it helps ignite your passion and productivity. By being more familiar with the sensations of stress and how it usually affects you mentally and emotionally, you become more welcoming of it and will then be less perturbed if ever a stressful situation comes around.
3. Overcompensate when handling an unexpected setback.
Another practice for people who would like to gain an antifragile mindset is by simply overreacting when handling or resolving any problem. Overcompensation is the essence of antifragility. Thus, your ability to overcompensate will come in very handy as you learn to become more antifragile.
One better way to apply overcompensation in your life is by repeating a certain activity you would like to master more times than you normally would. You can also keep track of your progress by recording how you have been doing the activity at the start and monitor how you have progressed. You can also do a number of researches to help you understand the activity better and therefore be able to handle it better. Simply, overcompensation is about going above and beyond to actually get past any hurdle.
For example, if you’re leading a large project and would like to be more antifragile in handling it, you should pull all the stops to make sure that you are doing everything properly. You can hire the right people and train them, retrain your current team, sign up for training on project management, meet daily with your team to stay current on all the changes in your project, or even make use of a project management tool like Kanban to help you oversee the whole project.
To overcompensate means you need to put more work into improving yourself or handling things more effectively, so that you can be more prepared in handling any challenge that might come your way.
Develop Your Antifragile Mindset
Antifragility is all about craving chaos and being prepared to face it. It’s true that it’s not as easy as it sounds, but with the proper mindset and by following these three practices of capping your downside, seeking eustress and overcompensating, you can easily adopt an antifragile mindset and become your most productive self.