the opposite of fragile

the antifragile world of a dandelion

Freedom is the ultimate option – Nassim Taleb (Antifragile)

What’s the opposite of fragile?

Most people will say: sustainable, solid, robust, resolute, resilient.  Nassim Taleb argues robustness is the ability to sustain or regain form or identity in the face of stress and volatility.  But some things thrive on stress and volatility.

We’ve heard of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but what about PTSG?

Post traumatic stress growth.  My friend Rebecca came across this condition working with women affected by the conflict in Uganda.  Our heads tell us it shouldn’t be so, but it exists.

Taleb’s triad: Fragile-Robust-Antifragile.

The question is, how do we move from fragile to robust to antifragile?

I’ve been thinking about this because my circumstances are going to be changing – through choice – and I know fragile won’t be enough ‘when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors’ (Antifragile), but I don’t want to stay in the same place – robustness.  As I think of the possible scenarios I catch what Taleb has to say about options over obligations.  Obligations inhibit me and make me fragile.  Options – maybe like a dandelion has options – are what give me freedom to move and adapt and fail and keep moving, so over the next few months I’m going to be asking plenty of people to help me identify options.

For what they’re worth, here are three starting points I’m exploring: humility (accepting who I am and what I can do, including my potential – Icarus was advised not to fly too close to the sun and not too close to the waves – and to know myself is to have options); gratitude (thankful for all I have in my life by way of people and things, and being surprised by joy in each new person and artefact coming my way – appreciating how their value provides me with options; and, faithfulness (to keep turning up doing the things which matter and add worth – people want me to turn up with energy: I like the word alacrity – focusing on energy in the things which matter offers options).

This is the beginning of my journey on this path towards antifragility; things are beginning to emerge which I’ll share another time.

But, what do you think?


Here’s something sent in by my friend Charlotte:


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