antifragile mindset

An antifragile mindset can be our secret weapon against unpleasant thoughts and experiences; because in the world we live in, there are always going to be things to look out for- things that make us feel upset, scared, hopeless, helpless, and generally uncomfortable.

antifragile mindset

Even though we all go through different things, there’s nobody who will never know what these uncomfortable feelings are.
What about you? Have you ever thought about how well you respond to the stressors “you” face? In this article, we have gathered everything that can help you find that out:

Now, what does antifragility mean?

What you do in response to these difficult moments can be placed on a spectrum from “fragility” to “antifragility”.

Firstly, what does fragility mean? Well, when you are “fragile”, you’re very shaken after a distressful event; so much so that getting back to the previous state seems unlikely.

Secondly, we go on to find a less fragile state, which we call “resiliency”. You may have heard about resiliency as the ability to bounce back after a difficult experience and mental pain.

And thirdly, at the other end of this spectrum, is what Nassim Nicholas Taleb calls an “antifragile” state- in this state, not only will you bounce back, but you will also go one step further. Basically, the antifragility definition is the ability to become even stronger as a result of overcoming challenges.

antifragile mindset

The stronger your antifragility becomes, the more appreciation you will feel for mistakes and errors. This is because it’s the challenges that help you become stronger!

“It’s impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all”

– J. K. Rowling

Is being resilient enough to overcome challenges?

No matter how robust we might be, there will never come a time where we are perfectly robust to each and every stressor there is in the world. This is because the world we live in will never prove itself to be perfectly safe and predictable.
Therefore, there is always going to be an unexpected event that can shake us significantly. This is why, even though resiliency is useful, it is certainly not enough.

antifragile mindset

So, Nassim Nicholas Taleb proposes that by adopting an antifragile mindset, and being able to welcome random stressful events in order to re-build and grow, we are better able to heal.

How can stress be useful?

From this concept, it is now clearer to see that there is a good side to stress. It helps us increase our antifragility because we can welcome it for our benefit.

antifragile mindset

Think about a major challenge you came across- now, think about what you could have missed, given that you never faced this challenge. This is why trying to remove obstacles and running away from distressful events will make you more fragile, and less happy! It may sound paradoxical, but it seems that the more comfortable we are with stress, the happier we get!

Welcoming difficult moments in your life:
How to become antifragile

It is not easy to just become comfortable with difficult emotions and challenges. This is not the same as saying “I’m so upset, yay!” In fact, learning to welcome difficult emotions in a useful way, takes a lot of practice and time. Having gathered and learned those skills, you learn to be not only more resilient, but also “antifragile”.

It’s okay for you to still not want to face difficult emotions, since this is not something you will instantly feel. In reality, Antifragility is a process, and it is described to be relative. This means that you can be more antifragile compared to yesterday, but less antifragile compared to tomorrow.

antifragile mindset

Just like any other skill, an antifragile mindset is not to be gained quickly and easily. They may not be skills that are alien to you; however, they’re built over time with patience, practice, and hope. If you become more comfortable with stress, you will be able to ask yourself:

– How exactly am I experiencing stress? Is my body showing symptoms? How is my mind affected?
– Is there a particular person or group of people I now understand better?
– If I went back, what particular skill would have helped me? Can I learn that now?

* Why don’t you think of a distressful event in your past and try to answer the questions above?

How does this apply to real life?
Two case examples:

Martin Seligman, a psychologist, describes two young professionals, Douglas and Walter, who lost their jobs both at the same time, due to the economy going through a rough patch. Both men start feeling anxious, helpless, and upset. Naturally, their view of the future was not as hopeful anymore.

With that being said, something separates Douglas from Walter as time passes. Douglas learns that it’s best to apply to as many companies as he can, and realizes that this is indeed necessary in such times of economical situations. Indeed, his hard work helps him land a new position. He begins his new job, having passed a new milestone of earning the ability to bounce back and move forward. He has now reached an antifragile mindset.

antifragile mindset

Walter, on the other hand, is more and more paralyzed by the idea of having been laid off.
Apart from being more resilient, as Martin Seligman describes him, Douglas will probably be even more empowered in his second job. This is because due to his experience, he is now better able to deal with unpredictable stressors that are inevitable.

He is perhaps less fragile to challenges and therefore will be a person who companies would benefit from even more. This puts him in a better position than his first job. In other words, had he not lost his last job, he wouldn’t be in this better position.

How does “Happiness-19” help you become antifragile?

With Happiness-19 you will learn how to “stop running away” from day-to-day challenges and stressors. Instead, you’ll experience them realistically, and learn various skills- such as adopting an antifragile mindset- as a result. In other words, by doing this program, you will end up with a toolbox that helps you get up and move forward after feeling “emotional pain”.

antifragile mindset

In order to be able to tolerate the challenges in life, the different sets of skills that you will learn have been categorized into these different groups:

* Mindfulness-Based Skills: These skills help you stop getting lost in your thoughts and losing touch with reality. This way, you’ll be able to make better-informed decisions, and avoid later complications.

* Emotion Regulation Skills: In this category, you will learn how not to be carried away by difficult and overwhelming emotions. Instead, you will learn what different emotions tell you, and how you can use them to act more appropriately.

* Interpersonal Skills: Difficulties in relationships can be very painful. These skills teach us how not to fall into an unhealthy pattern of relationships and instead, be able to communicate effectively.

* Cognitive Distortions and how to correct them: The way we perceive what happens around us in the world, makes a big difference in how we’re affected by them. In this section, you will learn how unhelpful patterns of thinking can be replaced by healthier ones.

* Sleep: All these skills will only come in handy when you have a refreshed body and a refreshed mind! You will be more vulnerable to difficult moments in life if your sleep is not efficient. In this category, you will learn how to achieve healthy sleep hygiene.

Emotional healing
Emotional healing