The first time Hercules faced the Hydra of Lerna (the serpentine water monster with nine heads) — he despaired.
Hercules discovered that each time he cut off one of the heads — two would grow in its place.
The Hydra possessed a special type of power.
Its power was beyond resilient — it would get stronger when injured.
We use the word “fragile” to describe people or companies that are weakened when harmed and the word “resilient” for things that withstand harm, but there’s no word for things that actually get stronger when struck, damaged or maimed.
One of the world’s most foremost thinkers and best selling author Nassim Nicholas Taleb proposed the word Anti-fragile.
“Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness.” he writes. “The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.”
You’re resilient when you face a catastrophe without flinching.
You’re antifragile when you face catastrophe and soar.
How can we take this concept in our daily lives? How can we be more antifragile? How do you thrive in uncertain times?
One way is not to shirk from setbacks. When you avoid disorder you’re making yourself even more vulnerable.
Rather than avoiding adversity — we can adopt an anti-fragile attitude by viewing misfortune, shocks, and disruptions as a path to making you more creative and adaptable.
You’ll get stronger with every blow, taking each hit as a creative opportunity for growth and at the same time inviting this type of learning into all areas of your life.
As Taleb writes, “We need randomness, mess, adventures, uncertainty, self-discovery, all these things that make life worth living.”