May 10, 2023




Antifragility, Slow and Steady, & More

At a glance

Good Morning. Welcome to all the new readers of Faster Than Normal who have joined us since last week!

Here’s what we’ll cover today:

Mental Model: Antifragility

Insight: Slow and steady.

Quote: Importance of critics.

Question: Shift in Perspective.

Poem: Mother To Son.


| Mental Model


In a constantly evolving world filled with unexpected challenges and disruptions, it is essential to develop systems and mindsets that not only withstand chaos but actually benefit from it. This concept is called "Antifragility." Unlike fragile systems that break under stress or robust systems that merely survive, antifragile systems grow stronger and more resilient in the face of disorder, change, or unpredictable events.

The key to long-term success is adopting an antifragile approach in various aspects of our lives. By doing so, we can transform potential setbacks into opportunities for growth and improvement.

Here are three examples to help illustrate the concept of Antifragility:

  1. Personal Growth: Embracing antifragility in our personal lives means being open to new experiences, learning from failures, and adapting to change. When we face adversity, we can either crumble under the pressure or use it as a catalyst for growth and self-improvement. Example: J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, was a struggling single mother on government aid before she wrote her first novel. She faced numerous rejections from publishers before finally finding success. Rowling's journey is an example of antifragility, as she used her setbacks as motivation to persevere and improve her writing.

  2. Business: Antifragile businesses are those that can thrive in uncertain markets and rapidly adapt to changing conditions. This includes fostering innovation, embracing diversity in ideas and talent, and being willing to pivot strategies when necessary. Example: Netflix is a prime example of an antifragile company. Initially focused on DVD rentals, Netflix adapted its business model to offer streaming services in response to changing consumer preferences and technological advancements. By embracing change and continuously innovating, Netflix has been able to thrive in a rapidly evolving market.

  3. Investments: An antifragile investment strategy involves diversifying your portfolio to withstand market fluctuations and even benefit from them. This may include a mix of assets such as stocks, bonds, and alternative investments that respond differently to various market conditions. Example: Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater Associates, one of the largest hedge funds in the world, employs an antifragile investment strategy. He uses the "All Weather" portfolio approach, which aims to perform well across various market conditions. This strategy involves allocating funds to a diverse range of assets, such as stocks, bonds, commodities, and cash, to mitigate risks and capitalize on market volatility.

To incorporate Antifragility into your life, consider the following:

1. Career:

  • Embrace lifelong learning: Continuously update your skills and knowledge to stay relevant in a rapidly changing job market.

  • Cultivate a growth mindset: Learn from failures and setbacks, viewing them as opportunities to grow and improve.

  • Build a diverse professional network: Connect with people from various industries and backgrounds to expand your perspectives and stay informed about new opportunities.

  • Be adaptable: Stay open to new roles, responsibilities, and industries that can help you grow professionally and enhance your career resilience.

2. Health:

  • Adopt a varied exercise routine: Engage in different types of physical activities to challenge your body and enhance overall fitness.

  • Practice stress management techniques: Develop coping strategies such as mindfulness, meditation, or yoga to manage stress and build mental resilience.

  • Maintain a balanced diet: Consume a diverse range of nutritious foods to support overall health and well-being.

  • Prioritize sleep and recovery: Ensure adequate rest and recovery time to maintain optimal physical and mental health.

3. Finances:

  • Diversify your investments: Allocate your assets across various investment types, such as stocks, bonds, and alternative investments, to mitigate risk and benefit from market fluctuations.

  • Create an emergency fund: Set aside savings to cover unexpected expenses, reducing your vulnerability to financial stress.

  • Develop multiple income streams: Cultivate various sources of income to increase financial stability and adaptability in the face of economic shifts.

  • Regularly review and adjust financial plans: Stay informed about changes in the financial landscape and adjust your plans accordingly to maintain long-term financial health.

4. Relationships:

  • Cultivate open communication: Practice active listening and express your thoughts and feelings openly to foster understanding and adaptability in relationships.

  • Embrace vulnerability: Allow yourself to be vulnerable and accept imperfections in yourself and others, strengthening emotional resilience.

  • Foster a supportive network: Nurture relationships with a diverse group of friends and acquaintances who can offer different perspectives, emotional support, and resources during times of change or adversity.

  • Invest in personal growth: Continuously work on improving yourself and developing emotional intelligence, which can contribute to healthier and more resilient relationships.

By implementing antifragility in these core areas of your life, you'll be better equipped to face challenges, adapt to change, and capitalize on opportunities for growth and improvement.

What other ways can you adopt an antifragile mindset? Send me a reply, I’d love to hear!

| Latticework

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| Insight

Success is often a result of consistent incremental progress, not giant leaps.

Challenge: Reflect on a recent achievement and break down the small steps that led to its success.

Example: Losing 10 pounds over three months by consistently eating healthier meals and exercising regularly.

| Quote

Pauline Kael, a renowned film critic, on embracing our own perspectives:

"In the arts, the critic is the only independent source of information. The rest is advertising."

| Question

If I were to step outside of my current perspective and observe my life as an outsider, what subtle patterns and habits might become more visible?

A Poem I Enjoyed

Have a wonderful Wednesday, all.

Until next time,


| P.S. — My Weekly Picks

  • How we write. It is inspired by our beliefs about the importance of good writing and by Monzo's excellent Tone of Voice guide.

  • Negotiating. Negotiation is both a subject on its own and also a common element of many persuasive situations.

  • The Scoreboard Method for Self-Confidence. Here's the framework I use to turn that insecurity into fuel. It's called SCOREBOARD.

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