Care to be Anti Fragile?



How often do we the above signage across packages, airport luggage, courier shipments and more. Giving it the kid glove treatment. Molly coddle.


Anti fragile as a term has been vastly enhanced by Nicholas Nassim Taleb‘s seminal book of the same name. Where he talks about how things can gain from disorder. Contrary to the popular perception that prevails.


Anti-fragility is a concept that has gained popularity in recent years, especially in business. It refers to the ability of a system or an individual to not only withstand stress and adversity but thrive under such conditions. Being secure in the status quo is akin to being in a state of impasse and you lose the opportunity to embrace discomfort, dance with our fears and get better at what we can do. It actually is a bottomless pit and going south is what happens most of the time. Because one is so wrapped around the concept of fragile.


Antifragility has a singular property of allowing us to deal with the unknown, to do things without understanding them— and do them well. Let me be more aggressive: we are largely better at doing than we are at thinking, thanks to antifragility.


Convexity of antifragility is where the accelerating curve is due to feedback. In his book, Nassim Taleb gives three examples of antifragility: Airlines, Restaurants, and Silicon Valley. All three of these become stronger every time something goes wrong. Amazon and Zoom are two examples of antifragile companies that thrived during the pandemic.


Anti fragile is NOT synonymous with resilient and hence not to be confused. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better and better. The infographic below offers a better explanation.


Image Source: TUVRheinland | Risktec 

In a world fraught with uncertainty, opaqueness, poor decision making, human error, risk and all of that, being anti fragile (as individuals or organisations) can be the knight in shining armour.

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