Tag Archive | Antifragility


Distinguish between rational fears, with real consequences, and irrational fears, where there really aren’t any consequences. (Tim Ferris)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I become antifragile?”

Aim not just for courage, but fearlessness.

“Isn’t fear useful? It keeps us alive.”

Some fears are useful; most fears are useless. Useless fears are irrational. Useless fears are the main obstacle that keeps you from reaching your potential.

Whenever you experience fear, ask yourself:

Is this a useful or a useless fear?

Every time you identify a useless fear, practice fearlessness.”


Two types of meditation

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What’s the best time to meditate?”

“We can think of many types of meditation. Two of them particularly stand out: meditation in comfort and meditation in discomfort

Meditation in comfort requires optimal conditions. Meditation in discomfort does not. In fact, meditation in discomfort requires suboptimal conditions – thus teaching you to adapt

Ultimately, meditation is a tool. It’s important not to lose sight of the scope of the tool.”

“What is the scope of the tool?”

To prepare you for life. The best way to prepare for life is in the turmoil of life.”

Befriending discomfort

Mentally and physically train yourself to live on the other side of pain. (Josh Waitzkin)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I befriend discomfort?”

“Practice in the little moments of life.

Practice in the small things.

The small things are the big things. (Josh Waitzkin)

The small things compound [<link; short read].
The small things prepare you for the big things.

Take itching, for instance.

Make it a habit to never scratch.

Whenever you’re feeling an itch, pause, breathe, inhibit the impulse, and smile.

Bring to mind the idea of impermanence.

This too shall pass.”

“Such a small thing.” 

“The small things are common.
The big things are rare.

Life is mostly made up of small things.

To live artfully is to beautify and make the most of the small things moment to moment.”

Obstacle Immunity

The outer obstacle is an illusion. The inner obstacle is all there is.

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

How can I achieve what Joe de Senna calls ‘obstacle immunity’?

Obstacle immunity is Antifragility. It is not a state, but a process, an endless practice.

Realize that the real obstacle is always within yourself. The real obstacle is your perceptions and emotions.

We view reality through a filter of meaning. Perception is interpretation. The interpretation produces the emotional response. The emotional response shapes your behavior, and with it, the trajectory of your life.

Obstacle immunity is perception mastery and emotional mastery.

Perception mastery is meaning mastery – the capacity to see the poetry in any and everything –, and attention mastery – the capacity to optimally direct attention.

Emotional mastery is recovery mastery – the capacity to return to tranquility/stillness from any point.

Antifragility as skill

Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better. (Nassim Taleb)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“If we think of antifragility as a skill, what are its subskills?”

“A tentative list looks like this:

Recovery – the capacity to recover balance in the moment and gain access to your inner resources. Recovery is the most important subskill. It’s an enabler – it allows the other skills to function. 

Perception – the capacity to optimally direct attention and to find the empowering meaning in anything.

Learning – the capacity to optimally learn from shocks. It’s a matter of mindset and method.

Creativity – the capacity to spot creative possibilities and turn shocks into creative inspiration.

Preparedness – the capacity to always be prepared for shocks so that they never take you by surprise.

Adaptability – the capacity to use obstacles as stepping-stones, to improvise and constantly readjust to your surroundings.”

The Art of Perception 7

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“It took me TWO HOURS to send a little package at the post-office.”

“It doesn’t matter what happened. The only thing that matters is how you respond to it.

What is the antifragile response?

In an important sense, the Art of Living is the Art of Perception. You’re upset only because of your interpretation of it. And your interpretation is largely a matter of what you choose to focus on.

How can you beautify this interpretation?

Design interpretation, then design behavior.

How could you have beautified that time?

The Inversion Game 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I turn every loss into a win?”

“Realize that every loss, every mis-take is a beautiful opportunity.

It’s an opportunity to practice Equanimity, regaining Balance.

It’s an opportunity to practice Centering, finding your way back to your Center, coming home to yourself.

It’s an opportunity to practice Loving Kindness, and Loving Compassion.

It’s an opportunity to practice Letting Go. A mis-take is a sunken cost. By clinging to it, you increase the likelihood of making another one, and then another one, in a downward spiral pattern. By letting go, you can break the pattern.

It’s an opportunity to practice changing state, returning to the Beautiful State. Remember Tony Robbins’s triad of human emotions [<link; medium read]:

Physiology (Breathing, Posture, Movement)
Language (Meaning)
Focus (Attention-directing)”

“Which is the most powerful?”

“The first one. The last two involve thinking, which is hard to do clearly when in an unresourceful state.

It’s an opportunity to practice Humor

What’s funny about it?

Our default frame of mind is a serious pattern. We tend to take it all so seriously, as if our continued existence depended on it. By taking it unseriously, by seeing the absurd of it, you can break the pattern.

It’s an opportunity to practice Learning. Once back to the Beautiful State, immediately reflect on it.

Do a PMI (Plus Minus Interesting) on it.

What’s positive about it? What did you do well?
What’s negative about it? What needs work?
What’s interesting about it?

Find the gem [<link; medium read] hidden within and express Gratitude for it.”

The Antifragility Game

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I practice Antifragility?”

See it as a game.

In essence, it’s a game of Perception. You’re playing with Attention and Meaning.

For instance, let’s say a specific situation triggers frustration. Like when a web-page takes too long to load. 

What’s the antifragile response?

You might ask yourself:

How can I beautify this moment?

You might choose to focus on – direct your Attention to – Gratitude. You can bring to mind all the silent gifts you tend to take for granted: your computer, with all its peripherals, the Internet, the chair you’re sitting on, the table you’re sitting at, etc.

You might choose to focus on Time. That small time-window is a beautiful opportunity for a micro-meditation. You can take a few mindful breaths, smile, connect with yourself, and relax.

By accessing some internal resources – Gratitude, Meditation – you’ve taken the situation and turned it on its head.”

“What if in the same situation I’m in an unresourceful state? That makes it harder to access my internal resources.

To quote Tim Ferris:

In a lowered emotional state, we only see problems, not solutions.

“In that case, changing your state becomes the absolute priority.

The best way to change your state quickly is by doing something intensely physical. Like a sprint, or a few burpees… or climbing a tree.

The Movement Game is an essential aspect of the Antifragility Game.

“What if I’m somewhere in public?”

“Even better. You get to practice indifference to other people’s opinions as well – or what I like to call, social deconditioning.”

The Challenge Principle

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I can’t meditate. My mind is racing / I’m feeling x.”

That’s the BEST time to meditate.

Remember the ultimate goal of the practice.”

Achieving Stillness under ANY conditions.

“Keep that in mind always, and treasure any opportunity to practice it.”

Turning obstacles upside down 2

Flow with whatever may happen, and let your mind be free: Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate. (Chuang Tzu)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I woke up in an unresourceful state again.”

“How does that make you feel?”



“It messes with my morning practice.”

“So it messes with an expectation for things to be in a certain way.”

“I guess it does.”

“What’s in your control?”

How I RESPOND to it.

“NEVER forget that.

What’s the best response?”

Inversion[<link; medium read].

The Obstacle is the Way.

“That’s the spirit.

Let go of expectations.

Whenever you encounter an obstacle, that BECOMES your practice.

Embrace it. 
Give it your full attention.

Turn every obstacle into MEDITATION.

Every obstacle is ALL obstacles.

Every obstacle is a potential Evolution-Point.

Whenever you encounter an obstacle, EVOLVE.