Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Self Assessment: Fragile, Robust, AntiFragile

I'm still in the midst of finishing the book "AntiFragile." Forgive me, I'm a slow reader. But this may be my new fixation/obsession. At least the ideas may be. Practicing, or forcing Antifragility in one's own life may be easier said than done. Let's define the three states of being vis-a-vis Nassim Taleb's book.

Fragile: Something that is devastated by change, or doesn't respond well to it. There may be less errors in such systems, and fragile things are protected, but when a "black swan" (unpredictable) event happens, the results are pretty serious. Examples of this include, large centralized governments and also banking systems, but it can also be applied to nature, careers, industries.

Robust: Indifference to outside occurrences or change. Not affected.

Antifragile: Improves or gains from errors. An example cited in the book is the restaurant industry in New York. There are a lot of failures and competition. Restaurants will succeed because of the mistakes of other restaurants in this volatile environment making the entire industry antifragile. Switzerland is another example as it's highly decentralized and while there may be errors in that system at a more frequent rate, the errors are small scale or at a local level.

(I hope this makes sense - forgive me if it doesn't. I'm doing my best)

Because of my narcissistic tendencies, I will now evaluate my own existence and various aspects of my own life in relation to these terms.

Health - Fragile: I haven't been exercising or providing the right amount of stress to my body to show any sort of gains. In fact, objectively looking at it, I've been treating my health as pretty fragile. To improve this, I should walk/run more and even lift weights. I've been saying this for years - will it ever be done?

Love life - Antifragile/Robust, moving towards slight Fragility: This is personal, speak to me in private if you'd like to know why, but who gives a fuck?

The Band - Antifragile: I'd like to think it is. It's been through changes and I think it's come out pretty good.

Social Life - Antifragile: I think making a social life antifragile means having more than one bar or scene to go and lots of people to hang with in a variety of venues. Not putting your eggs in one basket. Right now I have Kutztown and the Lehigh Valley, but I'm kind of looking for other places to go. In other words, if something goes wrong in one place, your social life isn't destroyed, and you can move to another place without any weirdness or devastation. (I'm not planning on offending anyone more than I already have).

Career/Income - Super Fragile: To move towards Antifragility in my career/income would mean me starting up and doing more freelance work and maybe buying a house and finding renters. This would HELP to offset any "blackswan" (unforeseen layoffs) event at the office. I could also become a prostitute which is super Antifragile.

Belief systems - Antifragile/Robust (I hope): This one, I am biased on. It's actually really hard to see our own biases but I would like to think my views have shifted based on evidence thus making them stronger. But I think there might be some robustness to it, too, in relation to not being affected. I have shifted through the years though.

Okay-these are just a few areas I've attempted to speak of. I hope I've done it correctly. Maybe I have, maybe I haven't. Please share your comments and assess yourself and don't make fun of me.

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