How To Thrive In Chaos
Chaos – Complete disorder and confusion.
Chaos – The property of a complex system whose behaviour is so unpredictable as to appear random, owing to great sensitivity to small changes in conditions.
We subconsciously put ‘things’ into two boxes – things that break and things that don’t. Let’s use the terms of Anti-Fragile by Nicholas Taleb to break it down:-
Robustness – Handles chaos/stressors but does not thrive in it. (A concrete slab being hit by a hammer, for example.)
Fragility – Breaks in chaos/stressors. (A pain of glass being struck for a hammer.)
But there is a third box which is rarely considered. That is the ‘anti-fragile’ (a term coined by Nassim Taleb, who wrote the book ‘Anti-Fragile’). Anything that is anti-fragile benefits with stress. Imagine a muscle, for example – as we put stress onto a muscle, it gets bigger and stronger.
There is also a threshold limit that we need to be aware of. Retaking the muscle example – if we overexert the muscle, it could tear.
One of natures laws is that the stressor threshold increases as we reach the boundary without crossing the line. Therefore, you can train yourself to be more anti-fragile in different areas of life.
Let’s look at our relationship to mistakes, for example:-
Fragile – Hate mistakes.
Robust – Neutral. They are just information.
Anti-Fragile – Love mistakes. Actively welcome them into my life so I can learn and grow.
Here, you can see how a shift of context can take you from a fragile state into an anti-fragile state. Awareness of this information can lead to a powerful growth spurt in your consciousness. The way you see the world will be different. The individual can learn how to thrive in chaos and grow from suffering.
In general, Humans are incredibly anti-fragile – they don’t know it. Their mind (and ego), on the other hand, is very fragile. We can take a lot of suffering and bounce back to a healthy and more holistic state.
The old adage – ‘in hindsight, it was the best thing that ever happened to me’ (generally referring to a time of suffering) – usually rings true.
Learn how to thrive in chaos – it is all around you in every moment. Becoming anti-fragile is natures way of keeping you in the gene pool; it wipes out fragility over time.
Moving Towards Anti-Fragility
- Stick to simple rules
- Build in redundancy and layers (no single point of failure)
- Resist the urge to suppress randomness
- Make sure that you have your soul in the game
- Experiment and tinker — take lots of small risks
- Avoid risks that, if lost, would wipe you out completely
- Don’t get consumed by data
- Keep your options open
- Focus more on avoiding things that don’t work than trying to find out what does work
- Respect the old — look for habits and rules that have been around for a long time