Gain from disorder

Wouldn’t it be nice if everything goes wrong, it still goes right for you? That you become less fragile?

Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure , risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.

Nassim Taleb

To cultivate antifragility, you might want to think about the following things:

  1. Embrace randomness and uncertainty: Recognize that the world is inherently unpredictable and volatile. Embrace randomness and uncertainty as sources of opportunity and avoid overreliance on fragile systems.
  2. Focus on asymmetry: Seek situations where the potential upside is much greater than the potential downside. Look for scenarios with limited downside risk but significant upside potential.
  3. Engage in optionality: Maintain flexibility and have multiple options available to you. Embrace opportunities that offer limited downside risk but the potential for significant gains.
  4. Practice barbell strategy: Balance your exposure to risks by combining a portfolio of low-risks (activities, investments and such) with a smaller allocation to high-risk, high-reward opportunities. Avoid being in the middle with moderate risk.
  5. Learn from stressors: Seek out challenges and setbacks as opportunities for growth and learning. Expose yourself to small, manageable doses of stress and learn from them to become more resilient.
  6. Maintain a decentralized structure: Avoid overreliance on centralized systems vulnerable to shocks and failures. Promote decentralization and redundancy to mitigate risks and enhance robustness.
  7. Develop a stoic mindset: Cultivate emotional resilience and remain calm in uncertainty and adversity. Focus on what is within your control and accept what is not.
  8. Be sceptical of complex systems: Question and scrutinize complex systems and models. Recognize the limitations of predictions and forecasts and be cautious about relying on them too heavily.
  9. Preserve optionality in personal and professional life: Maintain a diverse set of skills, connections, and opportunities. This will allow you to adapt and seize opportunities when they arise.
  10. Learn from history: Study historical events and learn from the mistakes and successes of the past (also your own). Look for patterns and principles to guide your decision-making and help you navigate uncertain times.