Author Buster Benson writes in an essay called Live Like a Hydra
that we can do more than simply be resilient in the face of setbacks.
For Benson, being resilient means that you can bounce back from some disturbance. For example, a bridge that can withstand a strong earthquake, or how your body repairs itself after it’s bruised.
But Benson argues that it’s possible not only to withstand such a disturbance, but to benefit from it. He gets his inspiration from statistician and writer Nassim Taleb
, who coined the term “antifragile.”
Being antifragile means benefitting from adversity or negative events. For example, how bacteria becomes resistant to antibiotics, or the way venture capitalists learn from failed investments to make smarter investments in the future.
As Benson puts it, an antifragile way of life is about finding a way to gain from inevitable disorder: “To not only bounce back when things don’t go as planned, but to get stronger, smarter, and better at continuing as a result.”
Benson offers the following ten life principles based on Taleb’s concept of antifragile:
1. Stick to simple rules
2. Build in redundancy and layers – avoid single points of failure
3. Resist the urge to suppress randomness
4. Make sure that you are fully committed to your work
5. Take many small risks – experiment and tinker
6. Avoid risks that, if lost, would wipe you out completely
7. Don’t get consumed by data
8. Keep your options open
9. Focus more on avoiding things that don’t work than trying to find out what does work
10. Look for habits and rules that have been around for a long time – respect what lasts